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

Fire Damage Claims Disputes

Fires are devastating to your home or business. Even if the flames are contained in one area of the building, smoke, and water used to extinguish the fire often cause even more damage. Immediately after the flames are out, the clock begins ticking to prevent further damage to your building and property. It is important to contact your insurer immediately to begin the claim process and allow the insurer an opportunity to inspect the damage. Dry out and mold prevention measures must be taken as well as recovery of personal property and sensitive electronics and sentimental items. Securing the property against theft and unwanted “visitors” is crucial. Your insurance policy may provide coverage for additional living expenses you incur while you are displaced and can often provide loss of business income for your commercial property until you can resume operations.
Know your legal rights, call for a free consultation.

Burst Water Pipes Claim Disputes

In Florida, we obviously don’t have much concern about frozen pipes, but broken or bursting pipes are still a common occurrence. Water damage can extend far beyond what may be visible to the naked eye. The dry out process must be done quickly and efficiently to prevent future problems. Many insurers now have employees or may have preferred vendors to provide drying services. You may be required to use these services rather than selecting an independent company for water damage mitigation. Before you hire any company to perform work, make sure you have approval from your insurer, or you could be stuck with a hefty bill to pay out of pocket.
As a property insurance lawyer, I can assist with any stage of the process

Sinkhole Claims / Failed or Incomplete Sinkhole Repairs

Most Floridians no longer have sinkhole insurance for their home or commercial building. Only "catastrophic collapse" of the ground causing damage to the structure may be covered. If you do have sinkhole coverage, it is very likely that there is substantial deductible for that coverage, so you could have a very large out of pocket contribution to the repair bill before insurance makes any payment. Make sure you understand your coverage BEFORE you need it. 

A new trend I have noticed is that Insurers are performing only a visual inspection when a damage claim is reported. It appears that claims for possible sinkhole damage are being denied without any testing at all.
Has your claim been denied because your home did not have “structural damage”?
As a sinkhole claim attorney, I can fight for your rights

If your home has previously been repaired after a sinkhole loss and the building continues to experience damage you may have legal recourse. 
When you followed your insurer's instructions and had your home “repaired” according to the engineer hired by your insurance company, and you finished all of the “cosmetic” damage repairs only to see the new or additional damage? The recommended repair may have failed or been incomplete.
If your claim was filed within the past five years, you might have legal options. Know your rights before time runs out.
Although "structural damage" is defined by Florida law, there are still differing opinions on how these criteria are met.
Call today for a free attorney consultation.

Storm Damage Claims Disputes

Hurricanes, Tornados, high winds, and Hail are common occurrences in Florida and some of the problems we face to live here. Large Hail can cause roof damage that may not be visible from the ground; high winds or storms can obviously damage roofs and cause severe structural damage to your home. Flying debris is often responsible for broken windows and doors which allow rain and moisture to enter the building. Prepare for storm season BEFORE it starts. Are you covered?

Burglary/Theft Claims Disputes

no matter where you live, you could be the victim of a burglary to your home or business.  Besides the loss of your valuables or equipment, vandalism often accompanies a break-in.  Have you made an inventory list of your personal property and did you save your receipts for big-ticket items? 

Property Insurance Disputes FAQs

Common questions regarding Property Insurance Disputes and Sinkhole Cases

I had a sinkhole claim and my house was repaired but I am noticing new or continued damage. What am I supposed to do?

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.

Did You Know? There are different types of insurers writing policies in Florida

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.

Did You Know? Sinkhole re-occurrence

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.

Did You Know? Sinkhole Engineers

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.

Did You Know? In Florida, Sinkhole loss coverage consists of two parts

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.

Did You Know? Sinkhole Damage

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.

Did You Know? Sinkhole loss coverage & property insurance

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.

Did You Know? Law and Ordinance coverage

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.

Did You Know? Pool Cages and Enclosures – Home Owners Insurance Q & A

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.

Did You Know? "Unoccupied" clauses

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

How Much Insurance Coverage do I need?

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.

Am I Covered for Windstorm Damage?

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.

Close Menu