Florida Property Insurance Claims Frequently Asked Questions
If your commercial or residential property has been damaged, you probably have questions about how your insurance claims process works. To help with some basics, Williams Law, P.A., has prepared answers to these frequently asked questions. Since 1995, our attorneys have provided dedicated representation for property insurance claims throughout the Tampa region.
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Property Insurance FAQ’s
Is damage caused by burglary, vandalism or other crimes covered by my policy?
Most residential and commercial property insurance companies provide coverage for damages to property from burglary, vandalism and other crimes. Check your policy for details.
Is property damage handled differently than natural disasters?
Sometimes. If a natural disaster such as a hurricane causes a significant number of claims at one time, your carrier may consider the claims a catastrophe. It may then use special adjusters and provide specific instructions for help with your claim. Regardless of whether property damage is caused by a natural disaster, you have rights to the coverage provided in your policy.
Does my property insurance policy cover flood damage?
Flood insurance coverage is typically provided through the National Flood Insurance Program rather than a property insurance policy. It’s important to remember, however, that not all water events are floods. Your property insurance policy may provide coverage for many types of water damage.
Will my insurance cover the cost of temporary arrangements if I cannot live or work in my damaged property?
Both commercial and residential property insurance policies may provide coverage for temporary arrangements in the event that your property is too damaged for you to live or work in. Check your policy for details.
Will my policy be canceled if I file a claim?
In some cases, your carrier may attempt to cancel or rescind your policy after you file a claim as a way to maintain profits. If you encounter a policy cancellation, our experienced attorneys can help you seek the benefits to which you are entitled.
What if my insurance company denies my claim?
Insurance companies deny valid claims all the time. If your coverage is denied, our law firm can help you seek the benefits to which you are entitled. It may be a simple mistake by the insurance carrier that we can address or it may require lengthy litigation. Our lawyers are prepared to represent claims from the start of a claim through trial, if necessary.
Insurance Disputes FAQ’s
When will I hear back from the insurance company?
Only certain states impose requirements for how soon an insurance company must respond to and pay a claim. In Florida, an insurance company must acknowledge receipt of the property damage claim within 14 days. At this time, the insurance company must give you information such as what it needs to proceed with your claim and instructions for filling out claim forms.
How long does my insurer have to pay my claim?
If the insurance company accepts your claim, it must reach this decision within 90 days of you opening the claim. Upon reaching a settlement, the insurance company has 20 days to issue your first payment. Failure to do so will result in the insurance company owing you the original settlement amount plus 12% interest per year.
What if the insurance company delays payout?
An unreasonable delay in the response time of an insurance company could point to insurance bad faith if the insurance company does not give a valid reason. If that is the case, get in touch with our Tampa bad faith insurance lawyer. An insurance company may only delay your payment if factors beyond the company’s control interfere with the claims process. In these cases, the insurance company has 15 days from the elimination of these factors to make a payment. Unfair late payments violate Florida’s insurance codes.
What do I do if the insurance company underpaid me?
If you have reason to believe your insurance company is not giving you adequate benefits to cover your claimed property damages, you may need to speak to an attorney for assistance. A low settlement offer could be a form of bad faith that qualifies you to file a claim against the insurance company. An insurance dispute attorney in Tampa could evaluate your damages and help you discover whether the amount offered is fair.
What is an insurance dispute?
An insurance dispute can arise if you and your insurance company do not agree on the value of your property damages or if the insurance company fails to pay you within a reasonable amount of time. They could also occur due to legal, technical or administrative problems. Any issues that arise between you and the insurance company could lead to an official dispute.
How long will I have to file a claim?
In Florida, you have four years from the date of your property damage to file a claim against the at-fault party. If the insurance company is not dealing with you fairly, you have five years from the date of the bad faith incident to bring a claim against the insurance company. The Florida courts recently set this statute of limitations as a precedent in bad faith insurance claims.
Should I give a recorded statement?
During an investigation of your insurance claim, the claims adjuster may ask you to give a recorded statement over the phone. Most companies require a recorded statement to process the claim. If you feel comfortable giving a statement, do so. However, you may want to speak to an attorney before giving one. An insurance adjuster can use a recorded statement against you later to dispute your claim. A lawyer can help you know what to say and what not to say.
How do I settle an insurance dispute?
Settling an insurance dispute can be difficult without help from a lawyer. You may need to obtain evidence of the damages you are requesting, as well as proof that you fulfilled all your responsibilities as a claimant. A lawyer can help you gather this evidence and build a case against the insurance company in Florida. A lawyer could force an insurance company to treat your claim fairly – or else take the insurer to court in pursuit of damages.
How much does an attorney cost?
Hiring a lawyer to negotiate your insurance dispute could help your odds of financial recovery. At Williams Law, P.A, your attorney will not cost anything unless we secure you a settlement or judgment award. We operate on a contingency fee basis. We only charge attorney’s fees if we win compensation on your behalf. You will know upfront exactly what percentage of the settlement or verdict we will deduct as lawyer’s fees.
Bad Faith Insurance FAQ’s
How can I determine if my insurance company is acting in bad faith?
If you believe your important, high-value insurance claim has been denied unfairly, your best next step is to contact a lawyer with extensive insurance knowledge and a track record of success in litigation. The same is true if you are “getting nowhere” with a claim due to lengthy delays in investigation or processing, or if you have been offered a seriously inadequate settlement.
Do laws against insurance bad faith exclusively or primarily pertain to specific types of insurance?
No. All insurance companies have a duty of good faith and fair dealing to their customers. Bad faith claims arise across the spectrum of insurance coverage types, policies and claims, from auto accident cases to sinkhole and other property damage claims under homeowners policies, and from disability and life insurance to various types of business insurance.
Why do insurance companies knowingly break the law and risk having to pay additional bad faith damages in addition to the value of claims?
The most direct answer to this question is that insurance companies are intensely focused on profitability, and this provides incentive to find (or manufacture) reasons to deny and underpay claims. Further, insurers exploit the fact that most people do not understand complex policy language, do not know all their rights, and may simply give up in the face of a claim denial or other resistance.
Why is it sometimes important to prove insurance bad faith was a factor in a claim denial or delay?
Under certain circumstances — as when the policyholder suffers additional damages because of the insurer’s actions — proving insurance bad faith results in an award, which includes damages in addition to the claim value, including payment of the wronged policyholder’s attorney fees associated with the case.
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