Hail claim denied, now what?
In Texas, roof damage from hail is common. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, Texas lead the nation in 2016 with over 830 hail events.
Unfortunately, it's also common for insurance companies to deny homeowners' hail damage claims. These denials are referred to as "bad faith," meaning that legally the insurance company should not have a reason to deny your claim. The big insurance companies figured out that when they deny your claim, there is only a small chance that you will fight the denial. Even if you are one of the few that fight them and they end up paying your claim plus attorney's fees, they still come out way ahead and pocket millions of dollars extra each year. There is even a book about Allstate's intentional across-the-board claim denial and underpayment strategy called "From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves."
Whatever you do, DO NOT give up if your valid claim is denied - dispute it!
Four steps to do after a denied hail claim:
1. Find out why your claim was denied
When a hail claim (or any claim) is denied, a written explanation must be provided within 15 days of you providing all requested information. The letter should give you clear, specific reasons for the denial, and should reference the section of your policy that supports the denial. If you don't have a denial letter, insist on one from the insurance company or adjuster.
2. Review your insurance policy
It's important to understand your insurance policy. The insurance company acts in bad faith if hail damage is covered, you have hail damage, and the claim is denied. You should then compare the denial reason(s) with the language cited in your policy. If the reasons are ambiguous or vague, you should request further clarification in writing from your insurance company.
3. Document, document, document
Make sure you document everything about your claim starting with the date the damage occurred, details of the damage, and photos or videos. Of course you'll want to keep a copy of the claim and any correspondence you receive related to the claim. Finally, make sure you notate all conversations with dates, times, and names of each interaction you have related to the claim. If you didn't start from the beginning, that's okay - pull out a sheet of paper and do it going forward.
4. Get help to enforce your policy
If your insurance company won't budge, get help to enforce your policy. You have a legitimate claim and you upheld your end of the contract so the insurance company should too. Big insurance companies have experts and attorneys working hard for them and you should too.
Where to get help:
- Report unfair treatment to the Texas Attorney General’s Office at 800-252-8011 or make a claim on the Attorney General's website.
- You can also contact the Texas Department of Insurance at 800-252-3439 for assistance.
- Call an experienced attorney who specializes in insurance disputes and denials. Experienced attorneys will offer free consultations to talk about the claim and often offer to work on contingency.
If you have questions regarding the claims process, The Lane Law Firm can help. After years of defending big insurance companies and helping them squash the “little guy’s” insurance claims, Chip Lane decided to open his own firm to serve families and business owners needing help with insurance claims. With his years of experience and extensive knowledge of the insurance company’s tactics, he’s able to level the playing field and get claims approved.