If your home or other real property sustained covered losses due to a windstorm or hurricane, your time for filing your insurance claims is not unlimited. You should begin the insurance process as soon as you suffer losses or discover an issue with your property. Depending on the situation, you may have multiple claims, including one under your homeowners policy, one under your hurricane coverage, and one for flooding.
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The Sooner You Start Working on Your Storm Damage Claim, the Better
The sooner you start working on your claim, the sooner you may receive payment. Starting early gives you time to seek recourse or prepare a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, if you cannot secure a settlement from the insurer.
Sometimes, you may not realize your property suffered losses right away. It could take weeks or months to discover the presence of mold, a leak, or missing shingles. If you do not discover your losses immediately, contact your insurance agent as soon as you find a problem. Your time limit not only applies to new claims but also to filing a supplemental claim or reopening a claim.
What Is the Timeline for Resolving Claims?
Once you initiate a claim, you have protections under Florida’s Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, Florida Statutes § 627.7142. Outlined in the statute is a timeline insurance companies must follow when responding to claims:
- The insurer has to respond to your claim within two weeks of filing.
- Within 30 days of your submission of a completed proof-of-loss statement, your insurance company must notify you whether your claim is covered in full, partially covered, or denied.
- Your insurance company must issue your full settlement, partial payment, or claims denial within 90 days.
If the insurance company denies your claim or offers only partial payment, you could dispute the claim and attempt to settle it through state mediation facilitated by the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services.
If you exhaust all of your options for resolution and still are not satisfied, you could sue the insurance company. These measures will increase the amount of time it takes to settle your claim.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Help Resolve Your Claim More Quickly?
The Florida Chief Financial Officer reports that you can do the following things to increase your chances of successful and speedy insurance claim resolution:
- Make any emergency repairs necessary for securing your property and preventing further covered losses. Document these repairs by saving receipts and taking before and after photos. If possible, save the affected property.
- Before contracting any repairs, contact your insurance company to make sure the provisions of your policy cover the work.
- Ensure that your contractor is licensed to operate in Florida and they provide you with proof of insurance. It is a good idea to ask your contractor for references. You can also check their work record with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
- If storm losses require you to leave your residence, make sure you shut off the gas, water, and electricity and secure the property. Make sure your insurance provider has a phone number where they can reach you.
- Carefully read and understand any insurance contract that asks for out-of-pocket expenses. It might even ask for fees based on a percentage of the settlement you receive for repairing or replacing your property.
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Can a Lawyer on Our Team Help Expedite Your Claim?
If your insurance company does not follow the timeline set forth by Florida law, our attorneys can reach out to them and apply pressure. If you have disputes about your claim, our lawyers may not be able to speed up the resolution process. However, our team can stand with you and fight for your rights.
Our storm damage claims lawyers can:
- Educate you about your rights as an insured homeowner
- Calculate the cost of your repairs and other losses
- Prepare you for the process of state mediation, if necessary
- Represent you in a civil lawsuit to recover your losses, if needed
We can also fight for the maximum amount of compensation available under your policy for:
- Real property repairs
- The value of your personal belongings
- Any Additional Living Expenses (ALE) you accrue
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for Help with Storm Damage
Your residence is one of your most important investments. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine want to help you get the money you need to repair your property and get your family back where they belong, at home.
If you choose to work with our team, we will go the extra mile to achieve a satisfactory outcome for you. To find out more about our commitment to client service and how we can help with your case, call our offices at 1-800-747-3733. The first consultation is free.