Hurricanes and tropical storms are a fact of life in Florida. Many Florida residents feel like they are prepared for any eventuality because they have been paying their homeowner’s insurance policy premiums faithfully every month. However, having a homeowner’s insurance policy is no guarantee that your claim will be handled fairly or that your settlement will be sufficient to repair or replace your property.
If you are unsatisfied with the response that your insurance company has given you regarding your property losses after a storm, contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for a no-cost case evaluation.
Why the Insurance Company Denied My Claim
Insurance companies are in the business of being as profitable as possible. Paying thousands of settlements with large dollar amounts cuts into the profit, giving the insurance company a reason to devalue or deny your claim. Regretfully, the insurance adjuster is generally more interested in saving the insurance company money than in helping you get the compensation you need to recover from your losses.
To that end, the insurance company may say that:
- You falsified a statement.
- You inflated the value of your items.
- Your damage was pre-existing.
- Your damage was caused by flooding, which is not covered in your policy.
- You had a late premium payment one month.
Whatever their reason is, you have rights when it comes to appealing their decision, and if the appeal is denied, you have a right to sue the insurance company. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 to learn more about how we can help.
In Florida, you have a limited amount of time from the date of your property loss to file a lawsuit against the insurance company due to a denial of your claim. It is not difficult to spend most of that time arguing with the insurance company about your claim. It may be easier to have a lawyer working on your behalf negotiate with the insurance company for you.
Know Your Policy
When you purchase homeowner’s property insurance, you want to review exactly what is covered in your policy, as well as its limits, deductibles, and exclusions. The more you know about your insurance, the more prepared you will be for dealing with your insurance company.
Be assertive with your insurance company to get the maximum settlement allowable. If the insurance company makes you a settlement offer that is considerably lower than you expected, do not accept it. A storm loss property claim lawyer can help advise you on ways to fight for a better settlement.
Insurance companies actively respond when you hire an attorney to help you get a fair settlement. They do not want to go to court over a claim because going to court costs them time and money. Your attorney will investigate your case, have the resources to hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, and negotiate with your insurance company in an effort to settle your claim as quickly and fairly as possible. Many claims can be equitably settled before a trial even takes place.
The Proof of Loss Statement
Your insurance company will ask that you fill out and submit a proof of loss statement. A proof of loss is a sworn statement detailing the property, its value before the damaging incident, and the value it has lost. It may include the value of items or furnishings lost such as those related to your garage, any motor vehicles or watercraft on your property, and losses to other free-standing structures. It is important to fill this out honestly and to provide as much documentation as possible to validate your claims. The more documentation you have to back up your claims, the better your chances of being fairly compensated.
What You Can Do to Help Your Storm Loss Property Claim
Besides keeping accurate records related to your property, there are some other things you can do to help the insurance claim process, including:
- Notifying your insurance company about the losses as soon as possible
- Not making any permanent or emergency repairs until an adjuster has been to your home and documented the losses
- Not throwing away any lost property until the adjuster has seen it
- Asking the adjuster for his or her credentials
- Not thinking that you must use the contractors that your insurance company recommends
- Including an additional 10% on most damage repair estimates for overhead and ten percent for contractor profit
- Not allowing the insurance company to depreciate the amount of your claim
- Being aware that purchasing new items may be cheaper in the long run than cleaning damaged items
- Not making a recorded statement at the request of your insurance company before speaking with an attorney
- Asking your insurance company for payment in advance so you can begin getting your home and property back to normal
- Being aware of deadlines for submitting paperwork throughout the claim process
If you are dissatisfied with the way your insurance company is handling your claim, such as ignoring your communications or taking actions that deny or devalue your claim, we can help. Reach out to the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1 (800) 747-3733 for a free case review. A storm loss property claim lawyer in Key West will know what to do to help you get the funds you need to restore your property.