Understanding Pre-existing Damage in Insurance Claims: Pitfalls and Solutions

When filing an insurance claim for property damage, one common reason for denial is pre-existing damage. Understanding what constitutes pre-existing damage and how to navigate this issue can significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Understanding why pre-existing damage can lead to claim denials, recognizing potential pitfalls, and knowing how to navigate these challenges can save you time, money, and stress.

What is Pre-existing Damage?

Pre-existing damage refers to any damage that existed prior to the occurrence of the insured event. In the context of insurance claims, pre-existing damage can include wear and tear, previous repairs, or structural issues that were present before the incident that prompted the claim.

Why Pre-existing Damage Can Lead to Denied Claims

Insurance companies often deny claims involving pre-existing damage because they are not responsible for covering damage that occurred before the policy went into effect. Additionally, insurers may argue that pre-existing damage invalidates the claim or that it was not caused by the covered event.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

Lack of Documentation: One common pitfall is a lack of documentation to prove the condition of the property before the insured event. Without evidence of the property’s pre-existing condition, insurers may deny the claim or dispute the extent of the damage.

Failure to Disclose Pre-existing Damage: Failing to disclose pre-existing damage when purchasing an insurance policy can invalidate coverage and lead to denied claims. It’s essential to accurately disclose any known issues and provide relevant information to the insurer.

Delayed Reporting: Waiting too long to report pre-existing damage or file an insurance claim can raise suspicions with the insurance company and complicate the claims process. It’s crucial to report damage promptly and document the timeline of events.

Inadequate Coverage: Insufficient coverage limits or policy exclusions may leave property owners vulnerable to denied claims for pre-existing damage. Reviewing your insurance policy and ensuring adequate coverage is essential to avoid potential pitfalls.

Navigating Your Solutions:

Document Property Condition: Before purchasing an insurance policy, document the condition of your property with photos, videos, and written descriptions. This documentation can serve as evidence in the event of a claim dispute.

Review Policy Coverage: Understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy, including any exclusions or limitations related to pre-existing damage. Consider purchasing additional coverage or endorsements if needed.

Report Damage Promptly: In the event of property damage, report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide detailed information about the damage and any pre-existing conditions to facilitate the claims process.

Work with an Experienced Attorney: If your insurance claim is denied due to pre-existing damage, consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in insurance law like MGW. An experienced attorney can review your policy, assess the validity of the denial, and advocate on your behalf during the appeals process.

Dealing with pre-existing damage in insurance claims can be complex and challenging. By understanding the reasons for denial, potential pitfalls to avoid, and solutions to navigate this issue, property owners can improve their chances of securing fair compensation for covered losses. Remember to document property condition, review policy coverage, report damage promptly, and seek legal guidance when needed to protect your rights and interests in the claims process.

MGW Law is the only firm in Wisconsin representing those facing denied or delayed insurance claims. It’s not a part of what we do; it’s all we do. With over fifty years of combined experience working for insurance companies, we know how the process works and we’re prepared to make your insurance provider pay what’s fair. If you’re facing a denied or delayed insurance claim, we can help.

We are ready tofight your case