What Does It Mean When Your Insurance Company Denies Your Claim for Pre-Existing Damage?

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy, and you’ll notice that it covers certain types of sudden or accidental losses to your property (covered losses) and does not cover other types of losses (non-covered losses). Pre-existing damage is one of the most common exclusions insurance companies use to deny otherwise valid claims.

Let’s discuss what pre-existing damage is and what it means when an insurance company denies your homeowner’s claim for pre-existing damage. We’ll also cover what you can do to decrease the likelihood your insurance company will be able to deny a valid homeowner’s claim using this reason now or in the future.

 

What Is Pre-Existing Damage?

Pre-existing damage to your property can include the following:

  • Damage that pre-dates the purchase of your insurance policy;

  • Failure to properly maintain your property from damage prior to the date of loss; and

  • Wear and tear over an extended period of time to your property

The reason insurance companies like to use the pre-existing damage exclusion to deny claims is twofold. First, insurance companies are not required to cover losses that can be attributed to pre-existing damage to the property. Second, they know that litigating claims based upon a pre-existing damage exclusion is fact-sensitive in nature. In other words, insurance companies will use all of the information that they have collected during the application and underwriting process to your detriment.

 

TIP: Get the facts on your side and memorialize them in documents such as inspection reports, photos, etc.