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Homeowner Claims: Know Your Basic Rights

Thu Feb 28th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

You may not know it, but if you have a Florida homeowner insurance policy, you have certain rights, as defined by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.  The FLOIR Bill of Rights sets forth a timeline for the claims process, as well as certain services you are entitled to.  The Bill of Rights also contains useful advice for claimants.  As a Miami Insurance law firm dedicated to representing the interests of policyholders, we are familiar with the Bill of Rights and the protections it outlines. 

When to Expect a Response From Your Insurance Company

When you report a claim to your insurance company, you have a right to receive an acknowledgment of the claim within 14 days.  Within 30 days after you submit a complete proof-of-loss statement to your insurance company, you have a right, upon written request, to receive confirmation that your claim is covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or receive a written statement that your claim is being investigated. Within 90 days, you have a right to receive full settlement payment for your claim or payment of the undisputed portion of your claim, or your insurance company’s denial of your claim.

The Bill of Rights does state that there are exceptions to the timelines when conditions are “beyond your insurance company’s control.”

What Services are Available to Assist You With Your Claim?

Under most circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, you are entitled to free mediation of your disputed claim by the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Consumer Services.  If your claim is for damage caused by a sinkhole and is covered by your policy, you may be entitled to neutral evaluation of your disputed claim.

Useful Advice for Policyholders

The Bill of Rights recommends, among other things:

  • Contacting your insurance company before entering into any contract for repairs;
  • Documenting any emergency repairs that are necessary to prevent further damage;
  • Keeping the damaged property, if possible;
  • Keeping all repair receipts;
  • Photographing damages before and after any repairs;
  • Carefully reading any contract that requires you to pay out-of-pocket expenses, or a fee based on a percentage of the insurance proceeds you will receive;
  • Confirming that the contractor you choose is licensed to do business in Florida;
  • Requiring all contractors to provide proof of insurance before beginning repairs; and
  • Taking precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home, including securing your property and turning off your gas, water and electricity.

Other Rights You Have as a Policyholder

The Bill of Rights makes clear that it does not represent “all of your rights under Florida law regarding your policy.”  It also states that it does not create a civil cause of action by a policyholder.  In other words, an insurer’s failure to respond to your claim within the time frame set forth, does not in and of itself give rise to a lawsuit.  If, however, your insurer has unreasonably delayed responding to your claim, ultimately denies it, or you are unsatisfied with the resolution, your options may include bringing a complaint in court.       

Need a Miami Insurance Law Firm to Help You Understand Your Rights as a Policyholder?

The Miami Insurance law firm of Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A., stands ready to assist you with your property claims dispute, whether through negotiation, mediation and litigation. 

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