When Should I Dispute an Insurance Claim?

The home insurance claims process can be difficult for claimants. Many insurance companies, rather than standing by their policyholders, try to dispute claims or vastly underestimate property losses. An interest in profits over people can lead to the insurance company handling claims in bad faith. As a claimant, you should dispute an insurance claim if you believe you deserve a different response from the claims adjuster. The timing of when to launch your dispute can be imperative to the future of your claim.

After Reviewing Your Original Claim

Once you receive a response you do not agree with from an insurance company, review your original claim to search for ways to improve it before opening a dispute. The claim you originally filed could contain mistakes or lack information that may have changed the insurance company’s answer.

If you failed to properly evaluate the value of your property damage, for example, or forgot to include a damaged shed as well as your home, this could lead to a smaller settlement award than you were expecting. The quality of the evidence you provided could also impact your settlement offer. Reviewing your initial claim can give you ideas for how to strengthen your arguments during a dispute.

Once you have collected stronger evidence or remedied something else you believe you could have done better on your initial claim, call the insurance company to ask if someone can reexamine your claim. Explain the mistakes you made on the first claim. You may also want to say you think the adjuster miscalculated your estimate. The company will review your case and may or may not change its settlement offer.

Before You Accept a Settlement Offer

After you say yes to an insurance company’s settlement offer, you cannot take it back. Your acceptance will initiate the payout process, at which point it will be too late to give the money back and dispute the claim. If you have any concerns with how the homeowners insurance company has handled your claim, it is imperative to speak up before accepting the provider’s settlement offer. Counter the offer or dispute the claim before you accept an offer for a chance at changing the insurance company’s decision.

After You Have Spoken to an Insurance Claims Attorney

Always speak to an insurance claim attorney before filing the paperwork to dispute an insurance claim. You will benefit from a lawyer’s input on your case. An attorney can review the facts of your claim, read over the letters you have received from the insurance company, handle conversations with claims adjusters on your behalf, and confirm whether or not you have grounds to dispute the claim. A lawyer can also take care of confusing paperwork and processes during the dispute process, such as a demand letter or appeal.

If the Insurer Has Denied Your Claim

If the homeowners insurance company denies your claim entirely, dispute the denial with help from an attorney. A total denial could mean you made a mistake on your claim, or that the company is treating your case in bad faith to try to save money. File a complaint and hire a lawyer if you cannot convince the insurance company to review your case again. Disputing a denied claim can be difficult alone, especially if you have a valuable case with high stakes for you and your family.

A denial could mean the failure to receive the money you need to rebuild your home and move forward after a natural disaster, fire, flood or another major incident. An attorney can help you file an official appeal if the insurance company refuses to reopen your case or treat your claim fairly. If your claim amount is high enough, hiring an attorney can be an important step in disputing an insurance claim. A lawyer can review your case and let you know if you have grounds to launch a dispute.