Disputing an Insurance Claim Settlement
People invest in insurance to provide peace of mind in case the worst should happen, such as a car accident or a storm that destroys your home. But an insurance company’s settlement offer may not sufficiently cover the damages you have sustained or meet the level of need you experience after an accident. Do you have to accept the insurance claim?
The answer is: No, you do not. Here is a step-by-step guide to navigating claim disputes.
1. Review Your Current Coverage
Before you dive into a protest, make sure you understand exactly what is covered under your policy. Insurance terminology can be confusing, and you should enter your dispute fully informed about dollar amounts and what your policy entitles you to.
2. Open a Dialogue With the Insurance Company
Inquire why your settlement came in below your expectations. Follow up on the company’s replies. Ask them to specify the language in your policy that led to their decision.
3. Keep Records of Everything
Write down notes from all your conversations with the insurance company and keep all the documentation you receive. You may need to reference it further into the dispute.
4. Write a Letter to Your Claims Adjuster
This will act as your official appeal. The letter should address:
- Your view on why the claim settlement should be higher
- Information in your policy that supports your case
- A request to review your claim
Wrap up the letter by asking the insurance company to respond to your appeal by a certain date. Most people choose a window of 10 days from when the letter is dated. Send the letter by certified mail so you have a record of that date. You also should make a copy of the letter to send to the supervisor of your adjuster.
While you may feel emotional when you write the letter, keep your language professional and polite. An adversarial note threatening to enlist a lawyer could worry the insurance company and redirect your letter to the legal department.
5. Arrange a Visit to Assess Damages
If your adjuster did not assess the damages themselves, invite them to see what happened in person. Some people get second opinions as well, such as from a car mechanic or smoke damage expert, depending on your situation. You can share this information with the adjuster or, better yet, invite that person to meet with the adjuster as well to discuss their recommendations.
6. File a Complaint With the State
If you follow all of these steps, the insurance company may revisit the decision. But if they refuse, take your case to the next step by filing a complaint with your state insurance department and hiring a knowledgeable lawyer. The attorney can advise you on your next move.
Find the Right Lawyer for Your Insurance Dispute
Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm has assisted many people with insurance claim settlement disputes. We understand how frustrated you feel in this situation, and we can guide you toward the best solution. We offer free initial consultations with the experienced attorneys at our law firm. Contact us today to discuss your case.