Most Common Problems Homeowners Face During the Property Insurance Claims Process
Florida's hurricanes and summer storms take a beating on our homes and lead to a hefty amount of property insurance claims. Nearly 1 in 20 homeowners will make a claim with their property insurer every year. With how common property insurance claims are, homeowners should be aware of common problems they may face during the claims process and how to avoid them.Failing to Mitigate Damages
Mitigation is the process of preventing additional damage to the property. For example, if your home was damaged by a pipe burst, you may need to hire a company to dry the water and prevent the water from causing more property damage. Most property insurance policies require you to mitigate damages to ensure coverage of a claim. Failing to mitigate damages may result in a denied claim or lengthier claims process.Throwing Away Damaged Property Before the Insurance Company’s Adjuster Can Inspect It
Insurance companies typically require policy holders to make the damaged property available for their inspection. While they also request you to mitigate the damages, if drywall or other damaged material is thrown out, it should be well documented by photographs or videos before it is discarded, or kept nearby for the insurance adjuster's inspection.Failing to Comply With the Insurance Company’s Requests
After you file a claim, your insurance company will likely request certain documents from you, such as a sworn proof of loss or photographs of your home before and after the damages occurred. It is important to comply with all requests from your insurance company to ensure your claim is handled timely and avoid a wrongful denial.Failing to Maintain Property
Property maintenance is not just important to maintain your home, but it is also important for purposes of property insurance claims. Most insurance policies require homeowners to adequately maintain their homes to provide coverage. Failure to do so may result in a lengthier claims process or denial.Repair Election
Some property insurance policies have a "right to repair" clause, which allows the insurance company to elect to repair your damaged property rather than replace it. However, this election can cause some problems, especially if the insurance company requires the use of particular contractors. The repair may not be done properly, match your existing non-damaged property, or result in a repair that does not restore your property to its pre-loss condition.Delayed Claims Process
Florida has one of the lengthiest property insurance claims processing times, with more than 42% of claims filed remaining unpaid after 60 days. Insurance companies are required to issue a coverage determination within 90 days after the claim is first reported, but this time may be extended under certain circumstances and payment may be further delayed. While there is little a homeowner can do to expedite the insurance company's progress, if you believe your insurance company is wrongfully delaying your claim, you can file a complaint with the Florida Division of Consumer Services to attempt to expedite the claims process.
If your insurance company is denying, partially denying, underpaying, or unreasonably delaying your claim, it may be time to contact an attorney. Contact our office today for a consultation.
This article is not intended to be legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship.