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What Florida law has to say about the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights

Mon Aug 29th, 2016 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

People across Florida have been paying extra attention to the weather forecast over the last few days given that the state seems to be surrounded by wholly unstable conditions.

While there are currently no indications that a hurricane is going to spawn, forecasters are nevertheless predicting that a tropical storm could strike the Panhandle and eastern part of the state later in the week, while also soaking southern Florida with several inches of rain.

Given that we are on the precipice of some potentially inclement conditions — not to mention in the height of hurricane season — it is perhaps worthwhile to revisit the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, a law passed back in 2005 in the aftermath of our state’s last hurricane to provide homeowners with greater protection.

What protection does the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights provide?

As written, the law dictates that insurance companies must provide homeowners with a sheet summarizing their rights under state law within 14 days of receiving any communication relating to a claim. Furthermore, the language used in this summary must be both simple and nontechnical.   

How firm is this 14-day deadline?

The 14-day deadline to mail the Claims Bill of Rights is the norm the majority of the time. However, the law does recognize an exception in cases where the claim is submitted in conjunction with an event that has forced the acting governor to declare a state of emergency.

What happens if the insurer fails to properly deliver a copy of the Claims Bill of Rights?

If an insurer fails to properly deliver a copy of the Claims Bill of Rights, it does not serve to create any sort of civil cause of action for an affected homeowner or class of homeowners. Indeed, this failure will be addressed by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation via administrative enforcement.

We’ll continue this discussion in a future post, examining what information the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights must provide.

If you have questions or concerns related to denied or delayed claims under a homeowners’ or flood insurance policy, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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