About 1 in every 20 homes had an insurance claim in 2018. The reasons varied from theft to property damage.
It’s unknown how many of these claims were denied, but you can be sure that there were claims that some of them were. You have every right to appeal a denied claim, though it may not be easy.
You’ll want to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim. They’ll be able to assist you through the claims process. Read on to learn how to hire the right attorney who will fight on your behalf.
Steps to File an Insurance Claim
The actions you take after you get property damage can determine whether or not your claim is approved or denied. The first thing to do is to review the policy to make sure you have adequate coverage.
If you were the victim of a property crime, then you’ll need to file a police report right away.
You’ll want to reach out to your insurance agent to let them know. They may have additional guidance to file the claim or tell you to call the insurance company directly.
Fill out the insurance claims forms completely and document everything. Provide receipts for lost goods if you can, photos of the damage, or any other information that would be helpful.
When to Hire a Lawyer for Insurance Claims
It’s a good idea to have a lawyer help you early on in the insurance claims process. Insurance companies typically look for reasons to deny your claim, and you can make a minor error that keeps you from getting your claim approved.
Most people try to handle the claim themselves, only to get a denial from the insurance company. That’s when they’ll reach out to an attorney.
You may be able to consult with an attorney to get guidance on filing your claim and then hire them if your claim is denied. This may be a big help because they can give you advice on filing your claim.
How to Hire a Lawyer
Let’s look at how you can hire a lawyer to represent your interests and protect your rights. Look for attorneys that have experience with your particular situation.
For example, if you’re dealing with flooding from a storm, you want to hire an attorney with flood damage experience. In a situation where you have property damage caused by a hurricane, you should hire hurricane insurance claim lawyers.
You’ll need to check out reviews of these firms online to know how they’ve handled other cases in the past.
The one thing that’s preventing you from hiring an insurance claim lawyer is the cost. Before you start doing the math in your head about an attorney’s hourly rate, you should know how attorneys get paid.
Most insurance lawyers get paid on a contingency. That means they only get paid when they successfully resolve your claim.
You may have to pay a percentage of your claim, but it depends on the language in your insurance policy. Some insurance contracts state that if there is a dispute and you win, then the insurance company pays your fair settlement and all attorney fees.
You don’t pay your attorney if your case is lost in court.
As long as you continue to press ahead with the claim, then you don’t owe the attorney anything. If you decide to drop the case halfway through, you’ll have to pay the attorney out of pocket for the expenses and time they put into your case.
You don’t want to do that, especially when you’re trying to repair the damages to your home.
Questions to Ask an Insurance Attorney
You should gather a list of 3-5 attorneys you may want to work with. You’ll need to take the time to interview a few attorneys. This can be done through an initial consultation, which is usually offered for free.
They’ll want to review the specifics of your case. Remember, they work on contingency, so they want to know that you have a very high chance to win.
They may refuse to take your case. Don’t take it personally, just move on to the next attorney.
What Is Your Success Rate?
You definitely want to make sure that the attorney has experience with insurance claims. The best way to tell is to ask how successful they are in fighting insurance companies.
Ask them about the success rate and the average claim settlement for clients.
How Does the Case Look?
Your attorney should have a general idea as to how the case looks. They won’t make a guarantee, but they will know enough to give a couple of possible scenarios.
They may ask for more documentation and ask you more questions. Be prepared to give them copies of all relevant documents and information.
What Is the Appeals Process?
Insurance companies have an appeals process where you present your case and explain why your claim should be approved.
If the claim is denied in appeals, then the attorney may file a lawsuit. The entire process can take at least a year or more. The insurance company may decide to settle the claim before the trial to avoid additional costs.
Beat Your Insurance Company
Most people don’t like dealing with insurance companies, and with good reason. You paid premiums to these large companies only to see your claim denied when you really needed it.
The best thing you can do is hire a lawyer that is experienced in insurance claims. They can make sure your documentation is perfect and take the stress out of dealing with insurance companies. They can also help you fight a denied claim.
Do you want to know more tips to protect your home? Check out the Home and Garden section of this site.