The average cost of homeowners insurance in Virginia is around $1000 per year. If you’re paying your premium, you expect to be covered if you need to make an insurance claim to cover the costs of storm damage repairs. So what do you do if your adjuster denies your claim or grossly underestimates the damage to your property?
Review your policy and claim
You should review your policy before making your initial insurance claim, but if you didn’t, you definitely need to check your coverage now. Make sure you know what your insurance plan entitles you to and if there any dollar-limits for your coverage. You may find that your coverage was mistakenly limited to an amount lower than legally required. While this is often due to a filing error, if you catch a discrepancy, you can have it corrected to get the coverage you’ve been paying for.
At the same time, review your claim. You can ask your insurer for clarification and then collect the documents and evidence needed to support your appeal. These documents could include:
- Photos of the damage
- Estimates from your contractor
- Records and receipts for any purchases you’ve made to protect your home
- Documentation of any conversations you’ve had with your insurance company
- Proof of responsible home ownership such as inspections and maintenance
Appeal the denial
When you appeal your insurance claim denial, you may need to use a multi-pronged approach, sending letters, emails, and faxes, while also following up with phone calls. You can send duplicates of your letters and evidence to your adjuster’s supervisor. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is a business, and the goal of a company is to make money. This means that they are reluctant to provide generous payouts.
Stay calm and polite
Dealing with insurance, especially the appeal process, is an extremely frustrating undertaking. They’re slow to respond, and you may get different information from different people. No matter how angry you are, you need to maintain your cool and don’t make threats about hiring an attorney. You don’t want to be adversarial from the start as your insurer might decide it’s easier to let the attorneys do the talking instead of communicating with you.
Arrange an in-home visit
You can request up to two reinspections for your insurance claim. If you’ve gotten second opinions from contractors, ask them to attend the appraisal. Your independent contractor can point out the damage, explain the necessary repairs, and explain the estimate. The team at Trusted Vets has been repairing and restoring homes for many years and can help you get the most out of your insurance claim.
File an insurance claim with the Virginia Department of Insurance
If your appeal is denied or your still not getting a reasonable response to your claim, you can file a complaint with the Virginia Department of Insurance. While having the state insurance department on your side can help you during negotiations with your insurance company, bear in mind that state departments are often under-resourced and may not have the expertise or power to resolve your disagreement completely.
If your home has been damaged in a storm, contact Trusted Vets for fair, accurate estimates, and exceptional craftsmanship to repair and restore your home. The team has years of experience in working with insurance companies and can help you navigate the often confusing and frustrating process of filing or appealing a claim.