Before Filing a Claim
Prior to filing a claim, business owners can take steps to help protect themselves should their future claim be denied. This includes:
- Taking photographic evidence — using a smartphone that not only will take a picture but document the day and time the picture was taken can help prove when the damage occurred should a business owner receive any pushback about the timeline of events.
- Keeping track of any communications with the insurance company — whether it’s the first notification to the insurance company that something happened to the business or inquiries about a filed claim, it’s critical for a business owner to keep track of all communications to the insurance company.
- Keep a list of any immediate repairs and receipts — for example, if there is water damage and more rain is predicted, it’s crucial for business owners to make temporary repairs to their structure. As previously mentioned, business owners should take photographic evidence of any damage before repairs are made and then take pictures afterward too. If a business owner has to purchase any materials for repairs, they need to hold onto those receipts for submission as part of the insurance claim.
If a Claim is Denied
If after making a claim and the claim is denied, business owners should do the following.
Prepare a Response
The first action is to review why the claim was denied — was it for a legitimate reason or could the insurance company be acting in “bad faith,” meaning that they intentionally deny a claim for no substantial reason. Business owners should review their policy to see what specific incidents are covered and aren’t covered, claim procedures, and other aspects of the insurance coverage to see if the insurance company made a mistake in denying the claim. Knowing why the claim was denied will help a business owner prepare the best rebuttal.
The next step is an appeal letter. In this letter, a business owner should explain their situation and provide any evidence to the insurance company that explains why they should reverse their decision.
Taking the Insurance Company to Court
If the insurance company continues to deny a legitimate claim, the business owner can take the insurance company to civil court for breach of contract. This is because an insurance agreement is like a contract. If the agreement specifically states the insurance company will pay a business owner if certain circumstances occur and the insurance company refuses to, then that’s a breach of contract.
How Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP Can Help
If you are a business owner and your insurance claim is continuing to be denied, then contact Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP. We take on the insurance companies so you don’t have to. While you can complete the appeals letter and even litigation on your own, having an experienced law firm like Hawash Cicack & Gaston, LLP can make a significant difference. Reach out to us today to see how our team can help fight for you.