What can I do if I filed a claim for damage to my home but it was denied?

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What can I do if I filed a claim for damage to my home but it was denied?

The damage was caused by water entering through an opening between the wall and door frame. The door and frame are all wood, it swelled and pulled from the wall and now water comes through. My insurance company is saying they cannot cover the damage since the storm did not cause an opening for the water to seep in. I disagree, the only reason water got in is because of the water from the storm. This is a second story door, no flooding involved. Is there anything I can do to get this covered?

Asked on January 27, 2016 under Insurance Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Generally, slow damage occuring over time, through lack of maintenance or the inevitable degredation of materials, seals, etc. over time, is not covered by insurance, but sudden catestrophic damage, like from storms, is. (This is a general rule: review your specific policy for your exact coverage.)
If you feel your insurer is wrong--that this was storm damage--and they are simply shirking their contractual (an insurance policy is a contract) responsibility to pay you, you could sue them for breach of contract. To win, you'd need evidence and testimony (e.g. from contractors or home inspectors) as to how the damage occured, and then prove that damage like that should be covered under your policy. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may or may not be worth the cost of a lawsuit to do this.


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