What should I do if my property insurance claim is denied?
When it comes to property insurance, more claims are denied than are approved and paid out. This should not come as a surprise as every insurance company is a business and this is how they make their money.
American Economy Insurance Company, which does business in Florida, recently denied a claim for coverage made by a Flagler County property owner, Coconut Island, LLC, after they sustained damage due to a broken water pipe. Coconut Island is claiming that American Economy failed to prove it is not responsible for the damages. This is now for the courts to decide.
But, what can you do if your insurance claim is denied? The answer consists of a few things.
Once you get a formal denial from your insurance company you should ask for an explanation. You can call to speak to someone at the office, but printed correspondence is best. Remember they are legally bound to explain to you why your claim was denied, so you shouldn't be afraid to ask for it.
Once you know the reason you were denied, go back to your insurance policy. Although they are often written in legalese you will be able to decipher under what instances you are to be covered. You should have a basic understanding of your rights at this point, if you did not have one before filing your claim.
If you plan to ask the company to reconsider, you should start accumulating evidence relating to your claim. Document correspondence with the insurer, take photographs and create a summary of the incident that includes dates, times and the names of those involved. It might also be helpful to speak to any witnesses and ask them if they would be willing to testify in court if it is necessary.
Once you have done all of the above, you can begin whatever internal appeal process the company provides.
If you are still denied after all of these efforts, it is likely time to speak to an experienced property insurance attorney.