What Is The Property Damage Insurance Claim Process In Florida?
If you own a home in Florida, chances are you carry a homeowner's insurance policy to protect your home, and other tangible assets, in the occasion of a catastrophic event. Florida property damage insurance claim law outlines the timeframes in which you can file a claim:
Question: How long after a storm or damage to my home can i file an Initial Claim or Reopened Claim?
Initial/Reopened claim: within 2 years of the date of loss*.
Question: How long after a storm or damage to my home can I file a Supplemental Claim?
Supplemental claim: within 3 years of the date of loss*.
*Date of loss is described as the date a hurricane, tornado, windstorm, or sever water event made landfall OR the date the significant weather-related event was verified by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
The Homeowner's Obligations: To file a Florida property damage insurance claim, begin with contacting your homeowner's insurance provider and notifying them of an adverse event. They should advise you on what (if anything) is needed next.
There are a number of standard obligations to the insurance company that Florida homeowners may have to abide by after a property damage insurance claim has been filed:
Give prompt notice of the loss.
Protect the property from further damage, and make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property.
Keep an accurate record of repairs and expenses regarding the loss.
Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property with bills and receipts.
Notify the police and credit card companies in case of a loss by theft.
Show the damaged property.
Provide records and documents.
Submit to an examination under oath.
Send sworn proof of loss within 60 days of request.
Insurance Company Obligations: Your Florida homeowner's insurance provider is under much less obligation to you unfortunately. Per Florida law, your insurance company is only obligated to:
Respond to communications from you within 14 days of receipt (Florida Statutes Chapter 627, Section 70131).
Pay or deny your claim within 90 days of receiving notice of your claim, unless there are factors beyond their control.
Documentation: Once you have filed a property damage insurance claim with your insurance company, as noted above, you should document the damage to your property. This can be best accomplished in a few ways:
Capture video and/or photographs of the damage*
Create a list of items that were damaged or lost
Keep detailed records of repair estimates, material costs, and contractor receipts.
*Some damage may take time to appear, especially if you have water damage. Don't forget to document newly found damage as it appears.
Estimates: Your insurance provider will most likely retain multiple quotes when determining how much to pay out on your claim. It is always beneficial for you to obtain quotes yourself so that if their estimate comes back low, you can present them with real-time costs of materials and repairs in your area. Maintain ALL estimates and receipts you accumulate when making repairs to your property.
Deductibles: When your claim is complete, it is important to remember that the amount you may receive will be LESS your deductible. Sometimes it is better to forgo the claim if you can get the damage repaired for less that what it would cost you in deductible. For example: if you have a small repair, such as a piece of fencing, it may cost you $500 out of pocket to repair. If your policy has a deductible higher than $500, and the claim is processed for $350 you end up with more of a loss.
Homeowner insurance property damage claims can be overwhelming, especially if your property has suffered catastrophic damage. Contacting a well-versed property damage insurance claim attorney in Florida can help you understand the process and have an advocate on your side. The insurance company may provide coverage on your property, but their bottomline is to pay out as little as possible to their customers. An experienced property damage insurance claim attorney can ensure your claim pays out an amount that is fair and benefits you in recouping most of your costs from the property damage repairs.
The Team at Max Factor Law, Florida's Property Damage Attorneys, have over 25 years of experience in assisting the residents of Florida through property damage insurance claims. Scheduling a consultation with us to look over your property damage claim is at no cost to you. To schedule a review of your outstanding property damage insurance claim, call us today at 850-577-1699.