So you need to repair a major home system or appliance, but your claim for service has been denied. Now what? While some may choose to give up and hire a contractor themselves, determined homeowners will know they have the legal right to dispute a claim and may be willing to go the extra mile to demand proper service.
If you count yourself among the latter, know you will have to thoroughly review your home warranty contract to determine whether your claim was wrongfully denied or if you were indeed at fault. Read all clauses carefully and go over the small print a second time, ensuring first and foremost that the item in need of repair is in fact covered under your policy and that the repair or replacement cost is within the dollar limit stipulated in the contract.
Common Reasons for Claim Denials
If the item in need of repair is covered, find and go over the exclusion provisions outlined in your home warranty contract. Exclusions will vary depending on the company, but warranty claims are most commonly denied for reasons such as:
- Damages pre-dating the purchase of the warranty
- Unusual wear and tear from rough handling
- Problems arising from poor maintenance or neglect
- Improper installation or safety code violations
- Damages caused by animals like insects or vermin
Steps to Dispute a Claim Resolution
Once you have ascertained the validity of your claim, prepare to dispute the company’s resolution using the following steps to help you navigate through the process.
- Contact your home warranty provider with your contract number and claim information at hand, and request the paperwork needed to appeal their decision.
- Communicate your request calmly and clearly, and keep a log with the names of the representatives that assisted you, the dates in which you spoke to them, and the information they provided you. Those details may be useful to you at a later time.
- If a service technician or contractor came to assess the problem, try contacting them or speaking directly with the company to obtain their full inspection report in writing. If you can, get a second opinion from a local repair technician or contractor and compare the probable cause of damage as listed in both documents.
- Follow your home warranty company’s appeal process to the letter, making sure to provide all requested documentation promptly and retaining copies for your records.
- If your warranty provider is unresponsive, try filling a detailed and well-structured customer complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Companies with solid ratings and good customer reviews may go to great lengths to ensure their reputation remains untarnished.
- If all else fails, consider filing a lawsuit with a small claims court or contacting your state’s Attorney General for larger claims that may involve fraud.
Again, if your home warranty company has denied your request for service, make sure the items you need to get repaired or replaced are covered under your warranty agreement. Also, make sure the total cost of service does not exceed the dollar limit stated in your contract. And finally, only proceed to dispute a resolution if you are confident you were not in any way responsible for the malfunction of your systems and appliances, or if you have evidence of improper claims handling on the part the sub-contractor or the company.