Has your Florida home sustained damage from a storm, falling tree, fire, or vandalism? If the damage is significant and you have homeowner’s insurance, then you are eligible for compensation by making a claim for your property damage.
Homeowners insurance is a type of coverage that provides monetary compensation for property damage and personal injuries sustained at an individual’s home following events stated in the policy. Unfortunately, insurance carriers are notorious for denying and underpaying victims, leaving them in dire situations. If an insurance provider denies a claim, varying legal issues may arise such as insurance bad faith and breach of contract. A Florida homeowners insurance lawyer could make all the difference.
If you believe you have a valid claim and it has been denied, you should hire an experienced homeowner’s insurance lawyer. At Klotzman Property Damage Law, we are too familiar with these companies’ tactics aimed at limiting or denying compensation owed to homeowners who have experienced catastrophic property damage. In order to protect your rights, call us today at 954-915-7405 and get a free initial consultation!
What Are the Common Issues with Homeowner’s Insurance Claims?
When you seek compensation for significant damage to your property in Florida, it is not uncommon to encounter an array of claim issues that can be overwhelming. Before you subscribe to a policy, it is always advisable to refer your plan to a trusted homeowner’s insurance lawyer to avoid future claim issues such as:
Valid Claim Denial
People are usually shocked when they get an outright denial of a valid homeowner’s insurance claim. While insurance carriers are there to do business and keep costs to a minimum, denying valid claims is an act that violates your policy. We have come across many homeowners dealing with damaged and unsafe living conditions.
Discarding Damaged Materials
After a fire, storm, flood, or any other event that leaves your property damaged, cleanup is required in order to reduce damage and prevent additional harm. However, some people mistakenly get rid of damaged materials that could serve as evidence to prove that indeed a catastrophic event took place.
Photos and videos alone may not be adequate to convince the insurance carrier that your claim is valid. As such, it is important to preserve damaged items during the cleanup process. At Klotzman Property Law, our experience in helping Florida clients with their claims has taught us that getting rid of damaged items can hamper the success of a homeowner’s insurance.
Offering Repair Instead of Replacement
Another notorious issue with homeowner’s claims is insurance companies offering repairs instead of replacing damaged items. A good example is flood damage. People who experience this kind of damage are rightfully concerned that doing repairs instead of replacing damaged materials is an option that proves unsafe.
Florida insurance companies, even with the law in place continue to act in bad faith and that’s why you need the right legal representation.
Low Settlement Offer
One of the most important reasons to hire a lawyer is because insurance carriers have a habit of offering initial low settlements that don’t even come close to covering the necessary repairs, replacements, and damages. Low settlements can be tempting, usually because they come quickly and for homeowners in dire situations, quick money may be more appealing than waiting for a fair settlement.
Failure to Maintain Property
An insurance company may claim that your failure to maintain your property is the primary cause or at least a substantial contributing factor to your home’s damage. This can be disputed, but most homeowners find it hard dealing with the insurance provider without the help of a good lawyer. Without a legal representative on your side, you will end up being taken advantage of, treated unfairly, and even left with more issues than when you made the claim.
Disagreements Over Policy Interpretation
Another typical homeowner’s claim issue is a disagreement between the property owner and the insurance carrier regarding the interpretation of the insurance policy. What may seem like clear language to you may be interpreted entirely differently by the insurance provider.
Keep in mind that insurance policies are designed and worded in favor of the insurance carriers. Any ambiguity in the language will only leave you confused and frustrated. Our team knows this manipulation tactic and you can use our services to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
Claims Process Delay
Insurance carriers also have a bad habit of delaying the processing of insurance claims. This delays the repairs or replacement of vital materials which can affect the health and safety of the homeowner. For example, living in a house with water damage poses health risks like exposure to mold. Insurance companies delay processing times so that the homeowners can accept low settlement offers or give up entirely.
Hiring an excellent lawyer will help you avoid being a victim.
What is the Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Process Like?
When it comes to making a homeowner’s claim following property damage, there are steps to follow not just to adhere to the rules, but to maximize your compensation. These steps are:
Report Your Claim
First and foremost, you want to call your insurance and inform them that you are making a homeowner’s insurance claim. The sooner you do this, the sooner they will be able to assist.
Assessing the Damage
The insurance company will reach out for more information on what occurred, what your policy may or may not cover, and finally schedule when to assess the damage in person.
Document Your Losses
Make a list of everything damaged on your property. Do not forget to take photos and videos as they will work as evidence down the line.
Save Your Receipts
In some cases, you may have to make temporary repairs or living arrangements and prevent further damage. When doing so, ensure you save the receipts as the insurance company may as for them as part of the claims process.
Meet with the Adjuster
After submitting your forms, the insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the damage, ascertain damages are covered under your policy and verify that everything you submitted is accurate.
Acquire Estimates from Contractors
As you wait for feedback regarding your claim, you may want to reach out to several contractors in your local area for repair or replacement estimates. It is wise to have these estimates before you get a settlement offer as the insurance company may try to lowball you.
Receive Your Settlement
If there are no issues in the claims process, you will get the desired settlement amount to cover the damages. If it’s denied, you will have the option to dispute the claim in a court of law.
Homeowner’s Insurance Bad Faith Claims
When an insurance carrier breaches their implied duty to fair dealing and good faith, they are said to have acted in bad faith. Every party or individual involved in the process, from the agent to the adjuster, is mandated to work in the best interest of the client, present accurate facts and coverage, etc. Failure to act in good faith is deemed a violation of the Florida insurance code.
Here are examples of some of the ways insurance companies commit bad faith:
- Using outdated or old price lists to assess a claim
- Trying to misrepresent the facts of a case. An example is attempting to replace your hardwood floors with laminate
- Invoking comparative negligence defense without defense. This involves claiming that the willful neglect of your house resulted in damage without sufficient evidence.
Homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect perhaps your most valuable and so, if you suspect the insurance carrier is failing to meet their obligations, you have the right to make an insurance bad faith claim. An experienced lawyer should advise further in regard to this aspect.
What Defense Do I Have Against My Insurance Company?
You have the right to take legal action if you believe your insurance company breached the contract or acted in bad faith. Protect your rights with the help of a homeowner’s insurance claim lawyer.
How Much Does a Klotzman Florida Homeowners Insurance Lawyer Cost?
When dealing with a damaged home, a claim denial or delay becomes even more stressful. You may not have the finances to cover the repairs or replacements needed and so, you might be worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer. Well, you do not have to fret as our firm operates on free evaluations. If you’d like to have a professional take a look at your case and give your options, don’t hesitate to seek us out. It is free!
Hire a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim Lawyer Today!
Before resolving a homeowner’s insurance dispute, it is advisable to consult a lawyer. Making a claim in Florida calls for a comprehensive analysis of the policy in question, the law as well as the circumstances surrounding your case. Without the right legal representation from Klotzman Property Damage Lawyers, you may end up settling for a settlement that is adequate for your need or give up the right to dispute the amount.
Hire the right lawyers by calling 954-915-7405 today!