If you submitted a claim to your homeowners insurance company and received a payment, the company most likely sent you a letter stating that your claim was closed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue has been completely settled, however. The insurer might reopen your claim, even if it has already sent you a payment, if you present evidence that the company didn’t adequately compensate you for your losses or introduce new information that wasn’t available when you initially submitted your claim.
How to Get Your Insurance Company to Reconsider Your Claim
If your claim is complex, consider seeking professional help. For a relatively simple case, you might be able to handle things with the insurance company yourself.
Start off by reviewing your homeowners insurance policy so you understand your coverage, exclusions and limits. If you aren’t sure why the amount of the payout was lower than you expected, review your claim and settlement letter. If the insurance company cited an exclusion, check the language in your policy to see if it fits the specifics of your claim.
If you need clarification on anything, contact your insurance company and ask questions. Keep written records of each person you speak to, when you spoke and everything you discuss. If you talk to someone on the phone, send that person a follow-up email summarizing your discussion to avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings.
Send a letter via certified mail to the claims adjuster explaining why you disagree with the company’s decision. If you think the adjuster missed some damage or underestimated its scope, ask the adjuster to reinspect your home. You can also ask a local contractor (and/or an expert in water damage, smoke damage, mold, etc., if applicable) to inspect your house and submit an estimate to the insurance company. Don’t threaten to hire an attorney at this stage. Try to resolve the issue amicably.
What to Do if Your Homeowners Insurance Company Won’t Budge
If these measures don’t persuade the insurer to reconsider the amount of your settlement, you can file a complaint with your state’s department of insurance. If there is a disagreement on the scope of the damage, you and your insurer can each hire your own appraiser to try to reach an agreement. Another option is mediation, although the insurance company wouldn’t be bound by the decision. As a last resort, you can hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against your insurance company.
Your Insurer’s Decision Isn’t Necessarily Final
When people receive a letter from their homeowners insurance company stating that a claim has been closed, they usually think that’s the end of the road, but that’s not always the case. You have the right to question the insurer’s settlement. Sometimes companies backtrack and pay out more than they initially offered when homeowners provide additional information from professionals. If you’re not satisfied with the amount you received, explore all your options to get the compensation you deserve.