Property Insurance Claim Releases: What Are They And When Should You Sign One?
Let’s say you’ve already gone through the tough parts of a property damage claim: the damaging event, cleanup, documentation, and the back-and-forth with your insurer over the course of several weeks (or months). Then, around the time you receive a settlement check, the insurance company sends you a Property Insurance Release of Claims form. Basically, this will mean you are agreeing to release the insurer from any additional liability related to your claim. Your signature on the release form and cashing of the settlement check then constitutes a waiver of any future claims or legal action against the insurer regarding that specific insurance claim.
It is tempting to sign the release, cash the check, and move on without thinking any further about it. In many cases, this is the right thing to do because you received a fair settlement payment, the damage has been repaired, and both you and the insurer are satisfied with the outcome.
However, you may still want to pause and look over your options at this stage. The insurance payout may have been underwhelming, or did not cover all of the damage you felt needed to be addressed. Perhaps the insurer denied aspects of your claim that you believe are still worth fighting for.
Once you sign and return a release of claims to your insurer, that puts an end to certain legal rights and remedies you may have. Under Florida law, the release of claims form is considered a contract, and you may be barred from contesting the insurance decision or bringing a claim against your insurer at a future date. You’ll want to make sure your homeowner rights under Florida law were followed during the claim process, and there are no remaining issues in dispute.
What to Do if You Have Been Sent a Release of Claims Form
Insurers will assume you are anxious to deposit your settlement check and sign the release form without reviewing it. This takes them off the hook from future liability if there was some disputed issue, or item that should have been covered. Remember that you are not required to sign these release forms simply to receive benefits that were rightfully owed to you under the policy.
This is a good opportunity to step back and review the release document – along with your full scope of options – with a property damage claims attorney that can provide sound advice and recommendations.
Before signing on the dotted line, take a close look over your insurance policy’s coverage terms. There may have been certain items that should have been covered under your policy but weren’t, or discrepancies between your valuation of the damage and what the insurance company wants to pay out. Our Daytona property damage insurance attorneys have helped many people assess their options at this stage, and make sure the insurance companies aren’t trying to sneak anything by you at the end of the claim process.
Contact our Florida Property Damage Insurance Attorneys To Review Your Release of Claims Form
If you are near the end of the insurance claim and have received a “release of claims” agreement from your insurer, take time to look over the fine print with an attorney that knows how these agreements work, and where “traps” may lie hidden. Signing a legally enforceable document carries benefits and risks, and our attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. can advise you of your full scope of rights under the situation. We are available to review all information and options as you move toward resolution of your insurance claim. Call 386-252-5170 or contact our Daytona Beach property damage insurance attorneys online to request a free consultation today.