Thousands of Nevada property owners are forced to dispute decisions by their homeowners’ insurance companies every year when their damage claims are wrongfully denied or settlement offers are way off base. About one in every 15 homeowners file homeowner insurance claims for property damages and theft that may be denied or underpaid.
Homeowner Insurance Claims
Homeowners rely on homeowner’s insurance to cover costs for certain damages that may occur to their home, but many claims are denied or settled for low amounts because insurance companies will go out of their way to minimize damages or refuse to pay. When taking out homeowner’s insurance, it’s important to understand what damages the policy covers and the policy’s monetary limits for damages. If the insurance company denies the claim or offers a low settlement for damages, understanding the policy coverage and limits can help in disputing the claim.
To dispute a claim, a homeowner must support his/her reasons for an unfair denial or settlement with evidence. If a resolution can’t be reached between the homeowner and the insurance company, the homeowner can enact the appraisal clause and file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner or through an insurance claim lawyer.
Enacting the Appraisal Clause
Homeowner insurance policies have a section called the “appraisal clause” that outlines procedures to follow when a policyholder and insurer disagree on the dollar value of a claim. The procedure requires the homeowner and the insurer to appoint an independent appraiser, then the two appraisers must choose a third appraiser. When two of the three appraisers agree on a dollar value for the claim, the claim is settled for that amount. Typically, a homeowner will have to pay for his/her independent appraiser and one-half of the cost for the third appraiser.
Contacting the State Insurance Commissioner
Homeowners can also file a complaint with their state insurance commissioner who oversees insurance regulations to ensure fair pricing and practices. The commissioner’s office will investigate the claim dispute and evaluate the claim denial or settlement. If they agree that the settlement is unfair, they may contact the insurance company directly for a resolution. If no agreement is reached, the homeowner can file a claim with an insurance claim lawyer to resolve the matter.
Homeowner insurance policies cover a variety of property damages, as well as medical costs for personal injuries. Homeowners should carefully choose insurers and understand policy coverage and restrictions to safeguard against claim denials and losses.