An appeal letter is a common first step in persuading an insurance company to reverse a denial of service decision or increase a proposed settlement amount. A well-written letter should follow a business letter format and be concise, objective and specific regardless of whether the appeal involves homeowner, health or auto insurance.
A persuasive response requires that you first understand the reasoning behind the denial or settlement proposal. Review both your insurance policy and the letter you received from the insurance company. Compare what the insurance company is saying to the information in your policy and the documentation you included with your claim. Note any contradictory information or errors and gather any evidence that may help to support your position. For example, if a denial letter states the reason is due to a lapse in coverage, look to see whether your policy has a grace period.
What to Include
Insert a reference line using the term "Re:" just under the date, and enter your policy number on this line. For the return address, use the same name and address shown on your insurance policy’s declaration page. If you’ve moved or need to provide alternate contact information, make it available it in a separate section just before the closing paragraph. In the body of the letter, state simply and clearly that you object to the insurance company’s decision. List each point in a separate paragraph, making sure to includes dates, contact details for people with whom you’ve spoken, and references to the evidence and documentation you gathered.
What to Enclose
Notify the insurance company that the letter includes attachments by adding the term “Enclosures” just under your signature. Include copies of evidence and documentation -- such as a copy of your insurance policy with the pertinent sections highlighted, photographs, repair estimates and medical or police reports -- as attachments. If the appeal involves property damage, include an inventory list of the damaged property and the value of each item. Make sure that each item links directly to a point in your objection.
Tips and Considerations
In a letter appealing a decision about a liability claim, never admit to being even partially responsible. Any admission makes it easier for the insurance company to deny your appeal.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you keep copies of all correspondence for your own records and that you send any formal dispute letter using certified mail with a return receipt requested.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.