If you are dealing with damage to your residential or commercial property, you need to know what you can expect from your insurance company and your policy.
Property insurance is a form of risk management. Today’s insurance industry grew out of “risk pools” created long ago by merchants and other business owners. Each participant contributed money to a pool. If any of them suffered loss or damage to their business, they could claim compensation from that pool.
If you have an insurance policy, that means that you are contributing to a risk pool. The insurance company determines how to distribute that money when policyholders make claims. This applies to any kind of insurance, including property, auto, and general liability policies.
Each insurance policy is different, but most policies that provide coverage for property damage include the following:
If you cannot use your property until repairs are made, many policies will cover at least some of the cost of temporary living or working arrangements, such as renting a hotel room.
Flood insurance is usually a separate policy that is available through the National Flood Insurance Program. A typical property insurance policy will cover damage from water that comes from above your property, like rain, or water that comes from within your property, like a burst pipe, but not floodwaters.
Many property insurance policies cover damage caused by natural disasters. Hurricanes, for example, can cause severe wind damage and require extensive repairs. The main difference between a natural disaster and other kinds of property damage is that, after a hurricane, your insurance company will probably experience a large number of claims all at once. It may use different procedures for handling a natural disaster claim because of this, but that does not affect your rights under your policy.
Many insurance companies see denying valid claims as a way to boost the bottom line. They may provide reasons for denying coverage that sound valid, but fall apart under scrutiny. We help home and business owners by providing that scrutiny. Reasons for denial of property insurance claims include:
Just because an insurance company says this is why they denied a claim does not mean this is the real reason. Our law firm can evaluate your claim and help you obtain the benefits owed to you.
Sometimes disputing the denial of an insurance claim is as simple as appealing the decision using the insurance company’s own review procedures. It could be that someone at the insurance company made a mistake. Getting them to admit they made a mistake, however, will probably require showing them how they got it wrong. This requires an independent appraisal of the damage to your property. This is something we will arrange for you.
If this does not work, the court system and the Florida Department of Financial Services may both offer a way to obtain relief. An insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. If they breach their contractual duties to you, they could be liable for damages. We can assert your rights in a lawsuit and, unless we can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, in the courtroom.