Your security and comfort are paramount in your home. Unfortunately, sometimes, homes get damaged by extreme weather events, accidents, or vandalism.
When this happens, the last thing you want to think about is filing an insurance claim. However, you don’t have to worry about navigating the claims process on your own. The following is a short guide with seven things you need to know about property damage claims.
You Need to Contact Your Insurance Company Straight Away
You should call your insurance company as soon as possible after discovering the damage to your property. Depending on your policy, you may have a limited time to file a claim.
To prepare for filing a claim, take photos and videos of the damage. Also, keep any repair receipts or invoices.
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The Liable Insurance Company Must Act Promptly
Your insurance company also has a limited time to act. According to the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights:
- The insurance company has 14 days to acknowledge that it received your claim.
- Within 30 days, after submitting a proof-of-loss statement, the insurance company must disclose whether it accepted or denied your claim. It might also share whether it’s investigating your claim.
- After 90 days, if your claim is approved, you should receive compensation for your losses.
If an insurance company does not act within these allotted timeframes, it may not be acting in good faith. When that happens, you have the opportunity to partner with a lawyer to file a bad faith lawsuit.
You Have Protections Against Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Not all insurance providers manage claims in good faith. For instance, if a claims adjuster purposefully gives you misleading information, this is a bad faith insurance practice. In another instance, if you’re pressured into accepting less than you’re owed, this is another bad faith insurance practice.
You have protections against these strategies under Florida Statutes § 624.155. If the insurance company violates your rights, our lawyers can examine whether filing a lawsuit could benefit you.
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How Much You Can Recover Depends on the Liable Policy
In many cases, you can recover up to your policy’s limits. So, suppose you’ve purchased $30,000 in coverage against hurricanes. If a hurricane damages your home, you can have your covered losses reimbursed up to $30,000. Anything else, you might have to pay for out of pocket.
Insurance can admittedly get complicated. You might not even know what type of insurance you have. A property damage claims lawyer can assess your insurance coverage options and pursue what you’re owed.
You May Be Compensated for Additional Emergency Measures
If you are in the midst of a home emergency, you must take immediate measures to prevent more damage. If you fail to do so, the insurer may not pay for specific damage.
For example, suppose a hurricane brings a tree branch through your house’s front window. To avoid further damage, you might board up the window from the inside or move your belongings into another room.
Your insurance company may compensate you for these efforts. When you partner with our team, we can determine whether your emergency efforts can be included in your property damage claim.
You Could Recover Compensation for Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
If your coverage includes ALE, this means that you can claim expenses such as payment for temporary accommodations (such as hotel fees), meals, and pet boarding because you cannot use your home.
ALE may also cover:
- Storage costs
- Gas, if you have to travel farther to and from work
- Laundromats, if your accommodations don’t have in-unit appliances
- Temporary storage, if you have to place your belongings elsewhere
- Food, groceries, and other amenities
- Furniture rental
- Moving costs
ALE is usually paid on a reimbursement basis. So, you should keep track of each of your expenses. This will help you recover a fair settlement from the liable insurance company.
You Have Options If Your Insurance Claim Is Denied
Your insurance claim may be denied for several reasons, including non-disclosure of facts, missing premium payments, and insufficient documentation of the damage.
However, if you feel that your claim was unfairly denied or undervalued, you can hire a lawyer. They can file an appeal or take other measures to dispute the denial. A denial is not the end of the road. You still have options.
How the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help
Our legal team has years of experience dealing with home insurance claims. We will make a full report of your covered losses and meet with your insurance agent to negotiate the settlement you deserve.
If your Florida home has been damaged due to an act of nature, an accident, or vandalism, contact us now at 1-800-747-3733. The initial consultation is free. Our team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine is ready to explain your options and protect your rights.
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