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What should I do after my homeowner's insurance claim is denied?

So your homeowners’ insurance company has denied your claim. Perhaps it is the reason you are reading our blog right now. It is a frustrating and scary time, because you are likely wondering how you are going to pay for the repairs to your home.

It may be tempting to leave a nasty message on your insurance agent’s voicemail -- or worse. But revenge will not accomplish anything, except possibly making it worse. On the other hand, you have options beyond grinding your teeth.

Your first step after your claim is denied is to review your policy. One common reason insurance companies give for denying a claim is that the damage is that the insured party is not covered for it. Or the company could claim that the insured party did not take sufficient preventative measures, or did not provide proper documentation of the damage.

If you still cannot understand why your claim was turned down, compare your policy with the letter the insurance company sent you. Companies are supposed to notify you of their reasoning in writing. If you dispute the company’s interpretation of your policy or the adjuster’s version of events, or if you believe there was a filing error or similar mistake, you should consider filing an appeal.

Before filling out the appeal form, write out your case and have an impartial but trusted friend review it. Does it seem credible? Could your argument be worded better? Make any necessary changes and then fill out the form. Ask the insurance company for a resolution date, so you know how long the appeal will take.

If the insurance company does not approve your claim on appeal, it may be necessary to find a attorney with experience in insurance denials to plan your next steps.

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