When you purchase insurance, you expect that your claim will be accepted in the event of an accident or disaster. However, sometimes insurance companies deny claims for a variety of reasons. If you experienced insurance coverage denial, it can be a confusing and frustrating experience. You may not know what to do next or where to turn for help.
The good news is that there are steps you can take if your insurance claim is rejected. This article will provide information on why claims are denied and what you can do if yours is rejected. We will also offer tips on filing an appeal and finding legal representation if necessary.
Understanding Insurance Coverage Denial
There are several reasons why your insurance claim might be denied. Some of the most common causes include:
1. Your policy does not cover the event.
To have a claim paid, the event or accident must be covered by your policy. For example, if you have a homeowner’s policy that does not cover flooding, then your claim will likely be denied if you try to file for damage caused by a flood. Be sure to read your policy carefully to understand what is and is not covered.
Some of the standard exclusions in policies in this situation include:
- Water damage (flooding, sewer backup): It’s essential to purchase a separate policy if you live in an area prone to flooding or where your home’s sewer system is at risk of backup. During Hurricane Katrina, for example, many people had their claims denied because they didn’t have the proper coverage.
- Earth movement (landslides, sinkholes): These are typically excluded from standard homeowners’ policies. If you live in an area where these natural disasters are common, purchase separate coverage.
- Damage caused by animals: If your dog bites someone, your homeowners’ policy will likely cover the liability. But if your pet causes damage to your home, such as by scratching up floors or chewing on furniture, your policy probably won’t cover it.
- Intentional acts: If you or someone in your household intentionally damages your property, your claim will likely be denied.
- Mold: Some policies will cover mold damage from a covered event, such as a broken pipe. But many policies exclude mold damage altogether.
- Wear and tear: Most policies exclude damage that occurs gradually over time, such as cracks in your foundation or leaks in your roof.
2. You did not follow the proper procedures.
Each insurance company has its claim filing procedures that must be followed for the claim to be processed. Your claim may be denied if you do not follow the correct steps.
For example, some companies require that you notify them within a specific time frame after the accident occurs. Others have specific forms that must be completed and submitted. Be sure to read over your policy carefully to understand the procedures that must be followed.
The proper procedure will vary depending on your insurance company and type of policy, but some general tips will help you ensure that your claim is filed correctly:
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident occurs.
- Be sure to complete all required forms and submit them promptly.
- Keep records of all correspondence with your insurance company, including phone calls, emails, and letters.
- If you are asked to provide additional information, do so as soon as possible.
3. You did not cooperate with the insurance company.
For your claim to be processed, you will likely need to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. This may include giving a recorded statement, providing access to your home or vehicle, and submitting to a medical examination. Your claim may be denied if you do not cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation.
4. You did not provide enough information.
When you file a claim, you must provide certain information about the accident or event. If you do not provide enough information, your claim may be denied. For example, you may need to give the date and time of the accident, a description of the damage, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Be sure to include all relevant information when you file your claim.
In most cases, the necessary information includes:
- Your name, address, and phone number
- The policy number of the insurance policy that covers the damage
- A description of the damage
- The date and time of the accident or event
- The names and contact information of any witnesses
5. Your claim is for a small amount.
Some insurance companies have what is known as a “deductible” on their policies. You must pay this amount out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays any benefits. For example, if your deductible is $500 and the damage to your home is $1,000, you will need to pay the first $500, and the insurance company will pay the remaining $500.
In some cases, the amount of damage may be less than your deductible. In this case, your claim will likely be denied because the insurance company will not have to pay anything. As a result, it is usually not worth filing a claim for a small amount of damage.
6. You made a mistake on your claim.
If you make a mistake on your claim, such as providing incorrect information or leaving something out, your claim may be denied. Be sure to double-check your claim form before you submit it to avoid any mistakes.
Some of the common mistakes that people make on their insurance claims include the following:
- Leaving out important information: Since you will be required to provide certain information about the accident or event, leaving something out can delay or prevent your claim from being processed. Be sure to include all relevant information when you file your claim.
- Providing incorrect information: If you provide inaccurate information, such as the wrong date or time of the accident, your claim may be denied.
- Failing to cooperate with the insurance company: As mentioned above, you will likely need to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. This may include giving a recorded statement, providing access to your home or vehicle, and submitting to a medical examination. Your claim may be denied if you do not cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation.
- Filing a lawsuit: Your claim may be denied if you file a lawsuit against the other party before you have filed an insurance claim. In most cases, you will need to exhaust all other options, such as filing an insurance claim, before you can file a lawsuit.
If you make a mistake on your claim, correct it as soon as possible.
7. You have a history of filing claims.
Your claim may be denied if you have a history of filing insurance claims. This is because insurance companies view people who file multiple claims as higher risks and may require them to pay higher premiums. In some cases, insurance companies may even refuse to renew your policy if you have a history of filing claims.
8. Your claim is for something not covered by your policy.
Each insurance policy has what is known as a “scope of coverage.” This is the list of events or items covered by your policy. For example, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover fire, wind, and hail damage. However, they may not cover damage from flooding or earthquakes. As a result, if you try to file a claim for damage not covered by your policy, your claim will likely be denied.
9. You did not purchase the optional coverage.
Most insurance policies do not cover some types of damage, such as flood damage. To be covered for this damage, you must purchase what is known as “optional coverage.” This is an additional type of insurance you can buy to cover specific types of damage.
10. Your policy has lapsed.
Your claim may be denied if your insurance policy lapses or is canceled. This is because insurance companies will not cover claims for events after your policy has lapsed or been canceled. As a result, making sure that your policy is up-to-date and active before you file a claim is essential.
What I Can Do If My Claim is Denied
If your claim is denied, there are a few things you can do:
1. Review the denial letter.
The first thing you should do if your claim is denied is to review the denial letter. The denial letter will explain why your claim was denied and what you can do to appeal the decision. Be sure to read the letter carefully and understand the reason for the denial before you take any further action.
2. Appeal the decision.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s decision to deny your claim, you can appeal the decision. The appeals process will vary depending on your insurance company, but in most cases, you will need to submit a written request for an appeal. Include any new evidence or information that may support your claim.
3. File a lawsuit.
If you have exhausted all other options and disagree with the insurance company’s decision to deny your claim, you can file a lawsuit against the insurance company. This is a complex process, and you will likely need the help of an attorney.
4. File a complaint.
If you are dissatisfied with how your insurance company handled your claim, you can file a complaint with your state’s insurance department. The insurance department will investigate your complaint and take appropriate action if they find that the insurance company acted unfairly or illegally.
5. Talk to an attorney.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against your insurance company, you must speak with an attorney first. An attorney can review your case and help you understand your legal options.
How Can I Prevent My Claim from Being Denied?
There are a few things you can do to prevent your claim from being denied:
1. Read your policy carefully.
One of the best ways to prevent your claim from being denied is to ensure you understand your policy. Be sure to read your policy carefully and familiarize yourself with the events or items that are not covered by your policy.
2. Purchase optional coverage.
If you live in an area prone to flooding or earthquakes, purchase optional coverage to protect yourself from these events. For instance, most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage, but you can purchase optional coverage to be protected from this type of event.
3. Keep your policy up-to-date.
Make sure you keep your policy up-to-date by paying your premiums on time and renewing it when it expires. If you let your policy lapse or cancel it, your claim may be denied.
4. Follow the claims process.
If you need to file a claim, be sure to follow the claims process carefully. Each insurance company has its approach, so be sure to obtain the necessary forms and submit them promptly.
5. Hire an attorney.
If you are having difficulty with your insurance company or your claim has been denied, you may want to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the appeals process and file a lawsuit if necessary.
If your insurance claim is denied, there are a few things you can do. First, review the denial letter and make sure you understand the reason for the denial. Then, you can appeal the decision or file a lawsuit. Finally, to prevent your claim from being denied in the first place, be sure to read your policy carefully, purchase optional coverage, and keep your policy up-to-date.
And when it comes to choosing an insurance policy, be sure to compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best coverage for you. As you shop around, consider the abovementioned factors to see the policy that best meets your needs.