What Happens When My Insurance Claim Is Denied?
Florida residents are used to preparing for tropical storms and hurricanes, but when one as big as Hurricane Irma leaves extensive damage, property owners are overwhelmed with emotions. At a time when we expect that our insurance carrier will evaluate our property damage insurance claims fairly and do so as soon as possible, many fail.
Do Insurance Companies Regularly Deny Claims?
Insurance companies are not in the business to pay out each claim that comes their way, so they use underhanded tactics to justify denying claims. To put this in perspective, 20,430 claims were filed in Sarasota, DeSoto, and Charlotte counties after Irma hit.
Insurance companies paid out on less than 50% of the claims. In the entire state of Florida, where most claims were filed by homeowners, insurance companies denied about 40% of claims.
What Reasons Do Insurance Companies Deny Hurricane Damage Claims?
If you are confused as to why your insurance claim for Hurricane Irma was denied, here are some common explanations:
- The insurance company claims that the damage was pre-existing, as in it happened before Irma hit.
- Your damage was caused by rain or flooding from the hurricane which your policy doesn't cover.
- They place blame on you for some procedural error.
You Have the Right to Appeal
There are several ways that you can appeal a decision from the insurance company to deny your claim for compensation. Here are the types of appeals:
- Internal appeal - Your attorney can ask the insurance company to conduct a full review of their denial.
- External appeal - You can also appeal the decision with an independent third party. The insurance company does not get the final say over paying the claim.
Why Should I Hire an Attorney if My Insurance Company Unfairly Denies My Claim?
You can deal with your insurance company on your own and try to appeal their decision, but it's in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney for the following reasons:
- In the State of Florida, you have three years to file a lawsuit against your insurance company for an unfair denial of your claim. The time you spend fighting with your insurance company eats up your statute of limitations.
- Your insurance company is more likely to take you seriously when you have legal counsel.
- If your denial was truly unfair, your insurance company is more likely to settle quickly with an attorney. If the court falls on your side, they will order your insurance company to pay your legal fees and all of the court costs.
You may feel frustrated with insurance carrier and hopeless about getting compensated for your hurricane property damage, but not all hope is lost. Contact one of our trusted Florida attorneys at Strems Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the merits of your case.