As we see more and more in South Florida, gone are the “good old days” when a homeowner can fill out the paperwork after a loss and trust that their insurance carrier will act expeditiously and in good faith. Many of us have paid our premiums promptly for years, perhaps never even having a claim. But then once we suffer a loss that requires us to rely on that insurance, we find that it is not only a frustration to get reimbursed or paid benefits but we are often left to fight with the insurance company. This is the reality of our modern insurance system.
Insurance Companies Rely on Profits
Insurance companies, as for-profit businesses, understand that the more they pay out to their insured, the less money they keep as profit. Insurance company shareholders want to see a profit, bottom line. Although you may want to trust that your insurance company is working on your behalf as a customer and will pay fairly and quickly, that company is really beholden to its shareholders. This is why they often work to minimize your losses and offer to pay you the lowest possible figure they can.
How Your Claim is Assessed
Your insurance company uses adjusters to determine the amount that is due you after you file a claim. This adjuster will come to your home and do a rudimentary inspection, asking questions of you and any other parties involved. They will take photos and file a report with their employer. Oftentimes, that adjuster may take things you say and use them to reduce the amount of your claim. Some other tactics that they use include:
- Leaving things out of their assessment, hoping the homeowner will not notice
- Assessing damage without adding the connected walls, ceilings, and finishes
- Only agreeing to paint the damaged area and not the rest of the room or the rest of the exterior of the home
- Only providing for one coat of paint instead of two
- Leaving out costs for mandated permits forcing the homeowner to pay for these
- Using software to establish estimates that most reputable contractors cannot work for. A homeowner who accepts a low offer will then be forced to pay the shortfall out of their own pockets.
You Do Have Recourse
When your insurance company denies or undervalues your claim, you have recourse. An experienced home insurance lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve after a loss. These can include losses from:
- Storm and hurricane damage
- Water damage
- Fire damage
- Theft and vandalism losses
Have an Insurance Expert on Your Side
Hiring a Miami home insurance lawyer allows you to have an advocate in your corner when dealing with large insurance companies. These companies have lawyers of their own. Having a lawyer working on your behalf will ensure that you are getting the benefits you are entitled to under the provisions of your insurance policy. If your claim has been minimized or denied, you owe it to yourself to have a lawyer advocating for your rights.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company, contact our Miami property insurance lawyers at Korin Law, P.A. for a no-cost consultation.