A denied insurance claim is the last thing a homeowner wants to deal with following a catastrophic hurricane. Customers can appeal the claim, but the process is often lengthy and arduous—not at all ideal during a high-stress period when homeowners need repairs immediately. Identifying exclusions and resolving coverage gaps can help mitigate denials. Outside of policy limitations, the following are some of the most common reasons for hurricane claim rejections:
- Failing to provide adequate documentation. Homeowners may assume they can submit their claim without providing documentation of the damage. After all, a hurricane ripped through the area, and dozens of people reported similar losses. However, insurance companies often deny claims without documentation of the property before and after the hurricane. They also typically require an itemized list of damaged property along with photos.
- Pre-existing damage. Not all people are trustworthy and may try to claim a hurricane damaged their property when the property or belonging was already broken or in disrepair. Photo documentation of all high-value belongings and property before and after the storm can eliminate any suspicion of pre-existing damage and subsequent claim denials.
- Not mitigating further damage. Homeowners can’t predict if hurricane winds will bring a tree down on their roof, resulting in flooding. Most policies cover that kind of damage. However, homeowners are responsible for making temporary repairs as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Failing to do so can result in denied claims.
- No flood insurance. Homeowners living in flood zones must have flood insurance, while those outside it do not. Unfortunately, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover flooding caused by external water entering the home. It may apply in some circumstances, such as a fallen tree causing a hole in the roof and allowing water to flood the property. Otherwise, insurance providers will deny flood claims if the homeowner doesn’t have the proper insurance.
Homeowners always have the option to appeal denied claims, but it’s better to understand policy coverage and limitations before a hurricane strikes. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to discuss your existing policies or coverage needs.