As we are seeing larger and more devastating hurricanes these past few years, we know the resiliency of spirit that results from these weather incidents. We take the aftermath one day at a time and often these times bring us closer to our community and our neighbors.
Unfortunately, the responses and actions by insurance companies are often underwhelming and, in some cases, bad faith responses. For hurricane victims, after a lifetime of diligently paying homeowners premiums, they expect a fast and fair response to their damage claims. But sometimes, insurance companies offer less than what is actually required to repair those damages.
It is important to remember that the state of Florida has statutes and insurance laws that ensure the rights of policyholders after a weather incident. Even so, many insurers resort to these bad faith practices when it comes to dealing with insurance claims after a hurricane event. Homeowners who feel their insurer has met their claim with an unsatisfactory response can contact Florida’s Department of Financial Services.
Be aware of the following after a weather incident.
For Florida homeowners, insurance carriers must pay or deny a claim within 90 days.
If the insurance company has tried to settle for an amount that you feel is inadequate, you have a right to dispute their settlement. They may not clearly explain this to you as the policyholder.
Many insurance companies will outright deny a claim even though the claim and damages are in complete compliance with the terms of the policy.
120 or 180 Day Provisions
Some policies will have provisions that state that they will pay replacement value if your notification of intent to repair or replace is made within 120 or 180-day provisions. Others will require that the actual repairs have commenced within this time frame. This can be buried deep in the content of the policy and can make the difference in whether you receive actual cash value or replacement cost value. Although this wording may be buried deep in the body of the policy, it’s important to know which your policy requires.
Sometimes an insurance company will add release language to a settlement payment that indicates that it is a full and final payment. But in many cases, the language used may not be clear and concise. It is important to understand if this is the case with your settlement.
Hurricane deductibles are often very high in Florida. Some insurance companies may use the easy excuse that the claim is smaller than the deductible. You may have a right to dispute this denial.
You may receive a check thinking it is part of your claim settlement. It may be a premium refund. If this is the case, the insurer may be trying to cancel your coverage. Get the advice of an insurance professional.
Proof of Loss
There are special rules governing proof of loss for both flood claims and other policies. Make sure you understand what your policy requires for proof of loss as a requirement for your claim. These usually have a time limit associated with them. This wording can often be buried in the fine print of the policy.
Some insurance companies will pay a small claim settlement and hope that you have become frustrated and overwhelmed. They hope that you are not paying attention to the details.
Call a Professional
If you have concerns about how your insurance company is responding to your claim after a hurricane event, call the professional Miami insurance lawyers at Korin Law, P.A. We can help protect your rights after a weather disaster. Call today for a free consultation.