When to Hire a Home Insurance Claim Lawyer (2024)

Most homeowners can handle home insurance claims directly, but sometimes a lawyer can help negotiate a better settlement.

Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault
  • Experienced personal finance writer

  • Background working with banks and insurance companies

Sarah enjoys helping people find smarter ways to spend their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans.

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Updated June 20, 2024

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The average home insurance claim amount between 2017 and 2021 was around $15,100, according to the Insurance Institute Institute (III). During that same period, about 6% of insured property owners filed a claim.[1]

But if your home insurance company denies your claim, you may need an insurance claim lawyer to help, depending on the claim and its severity.

When to hire an insurance claim lawyer

An insurance claim lawyer may be able to help you if your home insurance company denies your claim or you’re unsatisfied with the settlement offer. But hiring an insurance claim attorney isn’t always necessary. You may be able to work directly with a claims adjuster and your insurance agent to negotiate a better offer or appeal the decision.

You can also use the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ interactive tool to find your state’s insurance department for free additional help and resources. Or, if available in your state, you may be able to use a public insurance adjuster, which you can find by searching the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters or the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Good to Know

For high-value, valid claims, working with a homeowners insurance attorney could be a good idea, especially if you want to file a lawsuit against your insurer. If you’re unsure whether you need legal assistance, a free consultation with a law firm about your claim situation may help you make a decision. 

In addition, homeowners who want to negotiate a higher settlement offer may also benefit from using a lawyer.

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Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 20, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

Questions to ask a home insurance lawyer

If you’ve chosen to work with a home insurance lawyer, consider asking the following questions to find a knowledgeable attorney who has your best interest in mind:

  • How much experience do they have? Ideally, insurance attorneys should specialize in home insurance and have extensive experience. Ask about what areas of law they practice and how many years of experience they have.

  • What’s their reputation? You can check with the American Bar Association or your state’s licensing board to ensure an attorney’s credentials are valid. Also, consider checking for online reviews about the lawyer or their firm to make sure they act in good faith.

  • How much will it cost? Be sure to ask about how their fee structure works. In some cases, the estimated settlement may not be worth the cost of an attorney.

Factors that affect how long home insurance claims take

Turnaround times for insurance claims depend on various factors, including your state’s insurance laws, other claims in your area, and the nature of your claim.

State law

Insurance claim laws vary among states, governing how long an insurance company has to acknowledge your claim, provide a decision, and pay for the claim, if applicable. These laws can help protect consumer rights and ensure fair practices.

For example, when you file a home insurance claim in Florida, your insurance company has a duty to acknowledge receipt within seven days. After you submit your claim and other documentation, your insurance company has 30 days to notify you if it approves, denies, or is still investigating your claim. Florida home insurance companies must pay out approved claims within 60 days.[2]

Texas laws are similar, requiring insurance companies to acknowledge receipt within 15 days. Home insurance companies in Texas must approve or deny claims within 15 business days of gathering information, but they may have up to 45 days. Companies must pay out approved claims within five days.[3]

Claims in your area

Other claims in your area can affect home insurance claim processing times. For example, if you file a claim with your insurance company after a hurricane hits your city, other homeowners are probably filing claims, too. The higher volume of claims may delay your company from evaluating and paying out your claim.

While insurance companies must still process claims in a timely fashion, even during a natural disaster, if you and your neighbors file claims at the same time, you may experience some delays. The delays could be due to conditions that make property access difficult, a shortage of labor and building materials, or claims adjusters’ availability.

Can You Cancel a Home Insurance Claim?

Can You Cancel a Home Insurance Claim?

Your claim amount and complexity

Certain types of home insurance claims may be quicker to process than others. For example, a simple personal property damage claim, like a tree falling on a shed during a storm, may have a fairly quick turnaround from claim submission to payout.

But more complicated insurance claims, such as a claim for a personal injury on your property due to an accident, may take longer to document and investigate. Delays may also take place if the claims adjuster needs to wait to determine the extent of an individual’s injuries. Other more serious claims, such as fire damage or a car accident on your property, may affect turnaround times due to their complexity and coverage levels.

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How much does an insurance claim lawyer cost?

If you agree to a contingency fee, you’ll only pay if the case is successful. Lawyers working on contingency cases typically charge around one-third of the final settlement amount.[4] While this may be worth it for a larger claim settlement, it may not be cost-effective for a smaller claim.

People on a budget who need legal counsel can benefit from hiring a lawyer to provide advice. While you’ll likely need to handle the negotiations and communication with the claims adjuster and your insurance agent directly, paying a lawyer by the hour for advice could be a cost-effective option.

If you work with a public insurance adjuster instead of insurance dispute attorneys, you should still expect to pay a fee. They typically charge a percentage of your insurance payout, but in some cases, it may be a flat or hourly fee.

Insurance claim lawyer FAQs

Policyholders considering hiring legal representation to help with a home insurance case can benefit from the answers to these commonly asked questions.

  • How do you argue an insurance claim?

    You can argue insurance claims by filing an appeal, but you can check with your state’s department of insurance for free help or support. You can also hire a lawyer or public insurance adjuster.

  • What kind of cases does an insurance claim lawyer handle?

    Insurance claim lawyers handle cases for clients when they’re unhappy with the compensation settlement offer from their insurance company or experience insurance claim denial.

  • Should you use an attorney for an insurance company claim?

    Before hiring an attorney for an insurance claim, it’s a good idea to weigh the cost of their fee against your claim’s value. If your claim is complex and you think you can’t argue in court on your own, a lawyer may be able to help you get a better settlement offer.

  • What can an insurance lawyer do?

    Insurance claim lawyers typically help clients in a few ways, including negotiating higher claim settlements and filing a lawsuit against an insurance company. They can also help you understand your insurance policy.

  • Is an attorney worth it?

    For small claims or appeals you can handle on your own, the benefits of hiring an attorney may not outweigh the cost. But for high-value or complex claims, working with a lawyer may be worth it.

Sources

  1. III. "Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance."
  2. Florida Department of Financial Services. "Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights."
  3. Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel. "Consumer Bill of Rights."
  4. American Bar Association. "When You Need a Lawyer."
Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault

Sarah Archambault enjoys helping people figure out smarter ways to use their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans. She’s created and edited content for Credit Karma, Experian and Sound Dollar, along with banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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