When you first bought your home, you likely weren’t thinking about filing a future property damage claim. However, it’s a critical step in securing the compensation you deserve from your insurance company. Our team at Klotzman Property Damage Law can help you throughout the process.
Why Should You File a Property Damage Claim?
You should file a property damage claim because it is the first step in the process for you to receive compensation so you can repair and rebuild your property.
A property damage claim helps with both “real property” and “personal property.” Real property covers the home, poolhouses, gazebos, and other structures on your land, while personal property relates to items that can be moved (i.e. cars, TVs, clothes, etc.) While personal property is covered by insurance, your coverage is typically 50-70% of the insurance covering the structure of the house. So, it’s important to review your policy is critical to understanding how much you can receive.
Finally, it can cover Additional Living Expenses, also referred to as Loss of Use, which pays for costs associated with living away from your home while it’s being repaired. The amount covered depends on the policy you choose to insure your home with, but many insurers are able to raise the amount covered by paying an increased fee.
How to File a Property Damage Claim
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of filing a property damage claim, let’s work through the process. Here are five steps you can take to file your claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company
You should notify your insurance company as soon as you can. You’ll want to ask them about what is covered and what the process will look like. They will likely send an adjuster to interview you and inspect the property.
Make a List of Damaged Property
Once you’ve notified your insurance company, you should make a list of all of your damaged property. Make sure to be detailed about what damages occurred, while also taking steps to prevent any additional damage. Insurance providers can provide lower compensation if they determine that you haven’t fulfilled your “duty to mitigate loss.”
You’ll also need to take photos of all damages for your claim. Photos and videos of the damage your property incurred can be used as evidence in case your insurance company tries to undervalue the repair cost. It can also be helpful to take photos before a big storm or hurricane is expected to hit so that you can accurately portray the damage done specifically by that storm.
Review Proof of Loss
This document is filed with the insurance company to officially start the claims process. It is typically a one-page paper summarizing the information needed by the insurance provider, including the cause of damage, evidence, and estimates of losses.
Choose Your Repair Company
Finally, you’ll need to choose the right repair company for your property damage claim. Find local contractors and make sure to check reviews and testimonials, as these are some of the best ways to get an idea of the company. Get estimates from multiple companies to ensure you have different options. If you hire a property damage law firm to represent you, they can also help you find repair companies to hire.
Statute of Limitations
If you would like to file a lawsuit, make sure to submit your claim before Florida’s statute of limitations applies to your case. To receive compensation, you must file your suit with the courts within four years.
You can file a civil lawsuit for four reasons:
- Damage caused by the planning or execution of construction projects related to real property.
- Personal property being taken or damaged (this includes vehicles, furniture, jewelry, and other personal items).
- Anything “founded on negligence.” Negligence, in the sense of the law, is defined as failure to exercise care toward another which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances, resulting in damage or injury.
- “Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes.” This means the four-year deadline serves as a sort of general time limit for lawsuits filed that aren’t specifically mentioned somewhere else in the Florida statutes of limitations.
If you miss the window to file, you can attempt to file after the fact, but the case will likely be dismissed. This is why it’s crucial to speak to a professional as soon as possible to make sure you get the most out of your case. In the case that you have received a settlement that undervalues your losses, it is possible to contest the settlement and try to get more money.
Speak to the Professionals
Filing a property damage claim is critical to receive the compensation you deserve. You’ll first need to notify your insurance company, make a list of the damage, take photos, review proof of loss, and choose your repair company.
However, it can be challenging to file a claim. We can help you determine your options based on your insurance coverage. We will investigate, negotiate, and litigate your case to get you the results you deserve.
Schedule your free case review today with our Hollywood property damage attorneys. When insurance companies fail, Klotzman Property Damage Law succeeds.