Residential and Commercial Property Insurance Disputes
If your Insurance company denies your claim, you may have rights. Not every denial is correct or may be subject to the interpretation of an insurance policy term. It is sometimes possible to get coverage for your loss despite the original decision. There is no charge for a property insurance attorney to review your claim. I never represent Insurance Companies, only you, the consumer.
Has your Insurer made a payment that isn’t sufficient to do necessary repairs?
Sometimes Insurance company adjusters don’t fully evaluate all the damage, damage may be hidden from plain sight or for one or many reasons, you may not receive sufficient payment for your claim. I may be able to assist you in recovering what you are owed for your claim beyond what was already paid for the loss. Contact me for your free property insurance law evaluation and consultation.
Why do you need an Attorney for your Property Insurance claim?
Sinkholes and hurricanes are big concerns for property owners in Florida. Water damage, fires, and burglaries are just a few of the many other reasons for claims to your homeowners or commercial property insurers in Florida. If you own a property in Florida and you have Insurance coverage on that property you probably know that rates are going up while coverage gets more limited almost every year.
Many people are shocked at what their policy DOES NOT cover only after they have a loss. Before disaster strikes, speak with your agent to make sure you understand your coverage or call for a free policy review.
Common Property Insurance Dispute Cases
Property Insurance Disputes FAQs
Common questions regarding Property Insurance Disputes and Sinkhole Cases
If the repair was made within the past 5 years, you may have some recourse. Prior to contacting your Insurer, you may wish to consult with your Agent or an Attorney who specifically handles Property Insurance Claims. There are many pitfalls and hazards for Insureds making claims these days and you should be aware of your rights prior to making another claim.
Chances are that you do not currently have sinkhole coverage because it was either not offered to you or the cost was prohibitive if it was even available.
If you followed all requirements of your insurer during the repair, you may be able to reopen the claim as a failed or insufficient repair. Each claim is fact specific so it is important to speak with a professional before proceeding with any action unless the damage is catastrophic.
If a hole opens up or another catastrophic event occurs, get your family to safety and contact authorities and your insurance company. Even if you do not have sinkhole insurance currently, you may have coverage under specific language in the “catastrophic ground cover collapse” coverage included in most policies.
When repairs are completed for a sinkhole loss, it is important to pay close attention to any new damage which may occur. If you notice cracking or other signs within 5 years of the repair, you may have coverage.
There are admitted carriers which are regulated by the State for premium rates and are backed by FIGA which is the Florida Insurance Guarantee Association. FIGA is a fund which is paid for by a portion of your premium to pay for covered claims in the event that your Insurance carrier cannot pay all of its claims.
Unadmitted carriers also write policies but they are generally more limited in their coverage, can be more expensive and are not backed by FIGA. Make sure you know what you are buying.
In Florida, even if a sinkhole repair is completed based on an Engineers recommendation, there is a chance the damage can continue or reoccur.
This situation may occur immediately or years after the repair is completed. You may want to regularly inspect your home for any damage and address it promptly. Finally, make sure you keep all of your claim documents as you will need them in the future if you have a problem or if you ever sell the house.
As mentioned in a previous video, if structural damage to the house is observed, then the insurer may hire engineers to determine if sinkhole activity can be ruled out as a cause of the structural damage. If either of these 2 parts (structural damage and Sinkhole activity) are not found, then there is likely no coverage.
Make sure you understand the coverage before you may need it.
In order for the damage to your home to be covered under this portion of the policy, the house must have suffered structural damage as defined very specifically by the policy.
If it is determined that the home has not suffered structural damage, the Insurer is not obligated to do further testing unless requested. In that event, you may be responsible for up to $2500 of the cost of testing.
In Florida, many areas of the state are known to be prone to sinkhole activity which may result in sinkhole damage to property.
The majority of Homeowners policies do not provide sinkhole loss coverage. Review your policy thoroughly and discuss this optional coverage with your agent. You may be able to purchase the additional Sinkhole loss coverage but there is no guarantee you will be able to get the coverage.
Sinkhole loss coverage in Florida is now almost always a separate coverage and expensive if you can get the coverage at all.
If you do have the coverage, you may wish to speak with your agent or another professional to fully understand what that coverage provides. In 2011, the Florida Legislature significantly changed the definitions of terms applicable to Sinkhole losses which makes the coverage very specific as to what it covers.
Have you ever heard of Law and Ordinance coverage?
This coverage provides additional insurance benefits if the home is damaged and you need to update the home to comply with current building codes. Even homes which are a couple years old may need to be upgraded at some point since the building codes change often and become stricter with each update. This coverage is usually optional or you may be offered different amounts of coverage. Make sure you speak with your agent to ensure your home is properly insured.
In Florida, a standard homeowners insurance policy excludes coverage for pool enclosures, cages, and screens.
Many homes have large structures over their pools which were very expensive to build. Older homes with a pool cage may need to be upgraded to comply with current building codes if damages. In either event, make sure you have coverage or possibly purchase additional coverage for this expensive part of your home.
In Florida if you are a seasonal resident or if your house is unoccupied while you are on a trip for more than 14 consecutive days many homeowners policies now exclude any damage caused by broken pipes or any type of water.
If you’ll be away for an extended period of time may be a good idea to have a trusted friend or family member check on your home frequently. Make sure they do a thorough walkthrough to ensure there are no problems and there are no water leaks at the time. If you have any questions please call for free policy review
This is a popular question because in Florida some Insurers don’t give you an option for the dwelling coverage.
If you have a mortgage you will need to maintain adequate coverage to at least pay off the loan if a disaster strikes. When you apply for homeowners’ insurance, the company will have a replacement cost calculator which tells them how much it would cost to rebuild the home in the event of a total loss. It is not unusual that the dwelling coverage quoted to be far in excess of your purchase price or the estimated sale value of the property. Keep in mind, that you may wish to purchase higher limits on your liability or medical payments coverage in addition to any optional coverages you may wish to purchase for a higher premium. Remember, your policy does not cover your land.
Usually labeled as Coverage A – this is the part of the policy that covers the cost of repairing or replacing your home.
if there is damage caused by a peril covered by the policy or not specifically excluded. Many insurers calculate that value for you based upon the cost to completely rebuild. Remember, the land on which your home was built is not covered by your policy so the insured value should take that into consideration in comparison with the taxable value.
Watch John’s informational video overview of dwelling coverage and what it means as a homeowner.
Free Property Insurance Dispute Consultation
If you have an insurance claim of any type, know your rights. I may be able to assist you in recovering what you are owed for your claim beyond what was already paid for the loss. Let's discuss your rights today.