Have a Complaint or Can't Get an Answer When Things Go Wrong?

Some news reports of previous catastrophic disasters indicated that many homeowners affected by the those storms settled with their insurance companies for less than the damage they suffered. If you feel that the amount of the settlement you received from your insurer does not reflect the actual damage to your home, be persistent! You do not necessarily give up your right to argue for more insurance money if you accept one or more settlements. By following through, you could receive a substantially higher settlement. You'll be rewarded with a settlement that is fairer than the original offer and with the feeling that your concerns and documentation have been taken into consideration.

Many insurance companies could attempt to deny claims they classify as flood damage, which is not covered by homeowners insurance. However, your damage may be the result of wind and wind-driven rain, which is covered under homeowners policies. For example, rain entering the structure due to wind damage can cause interior and structural water damage.

When you can't solve a problem easily with your insurance company, file a complaint with your state's insurance regulator. Most state regulators have an online complaint form, or you can call and ask that a complaint form be sent to you. Here is the contact information for New Jersey and New York insurance regulators:

  • State of New Jersey Department of Banking & Insurance

            Website: www.state.nj.us/dobi/index.html

             Tel. (toll-free): 800-466-7467 or 609-292-7272

  • New York State Department of Financial Services

Website: www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/dfs_insurance.htm

Tel. (toll-free): 800-342-3736, 212-480-6400 or 518-474-6600

You may also wish to consult a lawyer for help with an insurance claim or problem. Refer to your state Resource Guide at Route 4 for a listing of free or low-cost legal resources in your area.