After you receive a denied USAA property claim, you may feel as though you have hit a brick wall. But it is not the end of the road for you, and you do not need to fight alone.
The property attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine have extensive experience in appealing denied insurance claims. Call 1-800-747-3733 to get a complimentary case evaluation from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, and learn more about your options for appealing.
What You Will Need After a Denied USAA Property Claim
When an insurance company denies a property claim, it may be because the information you submitted initially was insufficient to prove the extent of your loss. In some instances, simply providing more information may help strengthen your case and could possibly change the insurance company’s decision.
Make sure you can thoroughly document your loss with:
- Photographic Evidence: If you have a smartphone, you may have taken photos or videos at the exact moment the damage or loss occurred. It will also be helpful if you have photos of your property before the damage occurred. These images will be important to show proof of ownership, and also help adjusters more accurately estimate your claim.
- Expense Receipts: After your damage or loss, you may have had a number of emergency expenses, and you will want to have receipts for those purchases. For example, you may have needed tarps, plywood, or temporary fencing. If your kitchen was destroyed, you will have lost all your food and any way to prepare it. You may be able to claim the cost of eating in restaurants, over what you would normally spend on food per week. You may need to seek short term lodging, if you cannot stay in your home. Be sure to retain all receipts.
- Inventory Lists: Either on paper or electronically, you will need to have a comprehensive inventory of your damaged or lost items. In fact, it is a good idea to have an updated list of your property in any event. For larger, more valuable items you will need a description, where and when you purchased, and a serial number if available along with the original purchase price. If you are a business owner, you will want to include records of your inventory and purchase orders.
Finally, it may seem obvious, but make sure you have a full copy of your existing insurance policy. It is the first thing you will need to produce if you are appealing a denied USAA property claim in Florida.
Florida’s Division of Consumer Services accepts complaints from homeowners regarding insurance claims online, by phone, or by mail. They will investigate your complaint and communicate with your insurance company, but will not negotiate for a settlement or assist you in filing suit. A lawyer can help with that.
Reasons for a Denied USAA Property Claim
Getting a denied USAA property claim can feel like a punch to the gut, particularly after you have been through a disaster or other traumatic event. Unfortunately, it is not as uncommon as you might think. Like all insurance companies, USAA will endeavor to pay out as little as possible to protect its profit margins and maintain low consumer premiums (relatively, anyway).
You may have received a denied USAA property claim in Florida because:
Your Deductible is Greater Than Your Claim
Check your policy. You will have a deductible which represents the amount you must cover out of pocket before the insurance benefits kick in. The higher your deductible, the lower your monthly payments will be. But with a higher deductible, you may not be eligible for any compensation, depending on the amount of your claim. For example, if your damages add up to $1,100, but your deductible is $1,500, your claim will be denied.
Your Items Are Excluded
In the fine print, you will find the true details of your coverage. “Exclusions” are a common part of most insurance policies. This includes special or valuable items not covered in your standard policy. If you do not have them specified in a “rider,” they will not be covered. For example, expensive bicycles, art, or collectibles might not be covered.
The Specific “Peril” is Not Covered
Each insurance policy describes the particular event or “peril” it covers. Hurricanes, tornadoes, the weight of snow on a roof, or burglary are all examples of perils. If a tree falls on your house and damages your roof, it may be included in your policy. However, a tree falling on your lawn is probably not. Similarly, if your washing machine leaks and damages your floors it may be covered, but water damage from a flood most likely will not be.
Having property insurance does not mean you have a right to receive compensation. You do have certain rights as a homeowner in Florida regarding how quickly your insurance company responds to you, however. They cannot leave you in the dark if your claim is denied.
What To Expect From a Property Insurance Attorney
If you have a received a denied USAA property claim in Florida, you may be wondering what a property claim attorney will be able to do for you.
The easy answer is, help reduce your stress and anxiety about the whole process. Appealing a claim with an insurance company is time-consuming and can feel overwhelming if you have to do it yourself, particularly if you have a full-time job already—not to mention parenting duties.
A property attorney will be able to:
- Speak directly with your insurance company.
- Complete the required paperwork.
- Help collect the receipts and other information needed to prove your case.
- Negotiate a settlement for you.
- Represent you during litigation.
Should a settlement be impossible and your case against the insurance company is decided in your favor in court, your insurance company will be responsible for your legal expenses, according to Florida law.
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine
If you are dealing with a denied USAA property claim, you do not have to face it alone.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine to learn about the options you have, and how you may be able to get compensation for your losses due to a hurricane or other peril. Call 1-800-747-3733 for a free case review today.