Having homeowners or rental insurance can be crucial for property owners in the event of an accident or storm that has caused major property damage.
Repairing damage to a home can become costly very quickly—and if you’re insured under a property insurance policy and pay your premiums, you may qualify for partial or full property damage coverage. The amount of coverage you have, and the types of damage that qualify for coverage, will depend on the terms and conditions listed within your individual policy.
While insurance companies are generally obligated to quickly acknowledge and settle insurance claims under state insurance laws, some property owners may have difficulty securing compensation from their insurance carriers.
After filing a residential property insurance claim, your claim may be:
If you’ve suffered damage to your residential property and are having trouble receiving payment from your insurer for covered losses, our lawyers can assess your case and determine your eligibility for disputing a claim for wrongful denial or insufficient payment.
Why People File Residential Property Insurance Claims
Homes, condos, and rental properties can suffer damage through a variety of circumstances. Insurance claims for property damage are often filed in the aftermath of a costly accident, incident of theft, or major storm.
Common types of residential property insurance claims include:
- hurricane damage
- smoke and fire damage
- water and mold damage
- hail and ice damage
- tornado damage
- earthquake damage
The types of coverage you have as a property owner, and the amount of coverage you are entitled to, will depend on the specific policy under which your property is insured.
Understanding Residential Property Coverage
Seeking coverage for residential property damage can be a taxing process, particularly for individuals who are filing a claim with their insurer for the first time.
Understanding the types of coverage that are offered under standard residential insurance policies, and the process for filing a claim, cannot be taken for granted as common knowledge.
While most homeowners and renters likely have some level of awareness about their property insurance, not everyone is likely to be an expert on their insurance policy prior to filing a claim for coverage.
The most basic concept to understand about residential property insurance is its purpose—which is to offer property owners financial protection for property damage that has occurred as a result of an unexpected accident, storm, or other incident.
Standard homeowners insurance policies are intended to protect homeowners from losses related to property damage, as well as losses related to accidents or injuries that occur on their properties.
Types of coverage included in standard homeowners insurance policies:
- structural property damage
- damage to garages or other external property structures
- dwelling coverage
- personal belongings
- liability protection
- additional living expenses (e.g. in the case of emergency relocation)
Renters insurance is comparable to homeowners insurance in many ways, as a form of insurance that is similarly meant to offer protection for renters against financial losses related to accident liability and personal property damage.
Types of coverage included in standard renters insurance policies are as follows:
- personal property
- liability protection
- loss-of-use (i.e. additional protection for covered perils, such as costs related to emergency evacuation)
The primary difference between homeowners and renters insurance is that the former typically includes dwelling coverage (i.e. structural property damage), while renters insurance does not.
Factors That May Affect Your Residential Property Insurance Coverage
The amount and types of coverage residential property owners have can vary according to several factors, such as: your insurance carrier, your specific policy, and whether you rent or own your home.
In addition, some states such as Florida have implemented requirements for seeking coverage for certain types of property damage. Hurricane damage, for instance, may require paying a higher deductible or the purchase of a separate policy in order to seek coverage, depending on where you live in the U.S.
It’s also become common for standard home insurance policies to exclude coverage for damage caused by flooding. Seeking insurance coverage for flood damage may require the additional purchase of flood insurance. Mold damage may also be excluded from standard coverage in certain states.
Insurance laws and regulations for insurance companies are generally determined on a state-by-state basis. To better understand your residential property insurance coverage, you may wish to review your specific policy or consult a lawyer, who can assess your policy and explain your coverage to you.
What To Do If Your Insurance Claim Has Been Denied
After filing a claim, your insurance company is obligated to get back to you with a claims decision within 14 to 30 days.
This is meant to protect residential property owners who may be under significant financial pressure to secure reimbursement for repair, replacement, or relocation-related costs. In light of this, receiving a notice that your claim has been denied can be devastating at worst, and frustrating at best.
Insurance laws require insurance companies to follow certain procedures in the claims process to prevent companies from wrongfully denying or underpaying policyholders for covered losses.
However, deciding the status of an insurance claim is generally left to the judgment of the insurance adjuster handling the claim. The language used to describe coverage in most policies can often leave room for interpretation, which may provide an opportunity for the adjuster to verify or deny coverage based on their individual judgment.
Reasons why an insurance company might deny a residential property claim may include:
- missing or late premium payments
- filing for uninsured losses
- lacking evidence to prove your property damage
- suspicion of fraud
- filing for property damage coverage too late
- human error on behalf of the adjuster
- coverage limits have been met or exceeded
Disputing a denied claim won’t always result in a favorable outcome on your part. If your insurer has denied your claim on lawful grounds, an additional review of your claim is unlikely to change their decision.
Regardless, all policyholders are entitled to a review of disputed claims to ensure there was no error made on behalf of the adjuster.
If you suspect your insurance company has denied your claim on unlawful grounds, or underpaid your claim, you may be eligible to file a claim against your insurer for operating in bad faith—that is, purposely and unlawfully attempting to avoid paying for losses covered under your policy.
What To Do If You’ve Suffered Property Damage To Your Home
If your property has sustained damage from a hurricane or accident, there are some steps you can take to increase your chance of receiving payment from your insurance company quickly without unnecessary delay.
After any incident that has resulted in property damage, it’s important to collect documentation regarding the nature of the incident, the type of damage sustained, and estimated repair and replacement costs, if available.
To do your part to avoid an insurance claim denial, consider these tips:
- take video or photos of the property damage (or accident-related injury)
- create an itemized list of personal property items to include in your claim
- write down notes about the incident, including time, date, and nature of the incident (e.g. storm, hurricane, tornado, flooding)
- gather evidence to prove you own or rent the property
- collect statements from any witnesses who can attest to the legitimacy of your property damage and claim
If you’ve taken steps to provide sufficient evidence to support your claim and are still having issues securing payment from your insurer, you may be eligible to take legal action against your insurer for compensation.
How A Lawyer Can Help You Dispute An Insurance Claim
Insurance companies are generally required to review and settle insurance claims within 30 to 90 days, depending on where you live in the U.S.
If your insurance company has wrongfully denied, delayed, or underpaid your claim—or is refusing to review your dispute—your next course of action might be to contact an insurance recovery lawyer, who can investigate your claim for evidence of bad faith tactics.
Home and rental insurance policies can often contain complex legal language that can be difficult for most people to understand on their own. A lawyer can help you by deciphering your insurance policy, explaining your coverage, and strengthening your claim for coverage.
If you’ve already filed an insurance claim with your insurer and need help with the dispute process, one of our insurance recovery lawyers can investigate your claim and determine your eligibility to take legal action against your insurer if there is evidence they’ve acted in bad faith.
What our lawyers can do for you:
- provide a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your case
- strengthen your insurance claim for a better chance at securing a quick payout
- investigate your claim for evidence of bad faith tactics
- consult legal and property experts
- gather evidence to support your claims dispute
- handle communications with your insurance company
- work diligently to reach a fair settlement with your insurer as quickly as possible
- bring your case to trial if necessary to sue your insurance company
The insurance recovery lawyers of Florin|Roebig are capable of helping clients in all stages of the insurance claims process. This includes individuals who are looking to strengthen their claim, dispute a claim, or take legal action against their insurer for unlawful tactics.
Top-Rated Residential Property Insurance Claims Lawyers Serving The U.S.
Since 1985, the lawyers of Florin|Roebig have represented a wide range of clients who have been injured or otherwise wronged by individuals or entities that have behaved unlawfully.
When it comes to insurance claim disputes, our lawyers are committed to ensuring responsible policyholders are able to secure the compensation they are entitled to under their policies for a speedy financial recovery.
Our top-rated residential property insurance lawyers are capable of representing clients across the United States out of our office locations in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, and Colorado.
Contact Us Today For A Free Case Evaluation
If you’re having trouble receiving a payout from your insurance company for a residential property claim, don’t wait to learn what our lawyers can do for you.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our insurance claims lawyers, who can assess the details of your case and determine your legal options.