This blog has already discussed the devastating impact that Superstorm Sandy has had on homeowners along the northern half of the East Coast. Numerous people were literally left out in the cold when their homes were destroyed and insurance companies slow-walked the processing of insurance claims.
A powerful lawmaker in one of the hardest hit states is trying to do something about it by introducing a "homeowner's bill of rights," which would put new regulations on insurance companies to ensure people get the money they are entitled to.
Florida homeowners should know that they are already protected by a similar law, including provisions that require insurance companies to work faster.
The proposal for the Sandy-affected state would require insurance companies to provide homeowners with simple-language material that helps them understand what their policy does and does not cover in natural disasters, how to file a claim and what they should do if a claim is denied.
Another bill was introduced that would require insurance companies to process claims more quickly. The bill calls for insurance companies to begin an investigation on a claim within six days, inform the homeowner within 15 days whether the claim has been accepted and pay out funds within three business days if the claim is approved.
These measures are helpful, but they may not help people who unknowingly had insurance coverage that did not protect them against damages from calamities like Sandy. It's times like this where insurance is absolutely necessary, and the companies have a responsibility to do what they are paid to do.
Source: Insurance Journal, "After Sandy, N.Y. Assembly Advances 'Homeowners Bill of Rights' Legislation," Jan. 17, 2013