Ways To Avoid Disputes With Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
Florida’s homeowners normally do everything they can to protect themselves and have their paperwork in order if some event leads to a property damage insurance claim. However, despite these best efforts, problems can still arise and disputes take place. Often, this has something to do with the insurers’ goals to maximize profits and minimize payouts when they can.
An insurance company will point to a missed deadline, paperwork errors, pre-existing conditions of the home, or other issues to shift blame on a property owner and reduce the claim accordingly. For example, water damage that arises after a severe storm might be blamed on a previous water leak, or an insurer may say the homeowner did not provide timely notice of the damage. Being open, up-front, and honest with an insurer can not only speed up the process but avoid situations where an insurer can legally deny a property damage claim.
Steps Homeowners Can Take to Avoid Future Problems
- Inventory personal property and home conditions. This often gets overlooked, but creating a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions and taking photos of all areas of your home before anything happens can help immensely after something happens. Otherwise, if pressed by your insurer, you won’t have proof that something wasn’t already damaged or missing before an event occurred. For the insurer, this can help streamline the process and get certain aspects of your claim OK’d without further issue.
- Review your policy. This isn’t anybody’s idea of fun, but going through the details of your policy to know what is covered and how to get your claim processed can help you later when needed. Your policy’s terms will include important deadlines and procedures when filing a claim and it is critical to adhere to these when you need your insurer’s help. You might even find that something you thought would be covered is not (for example, flood damage), and this gives you an opportunity to update the policy as needed.
- File your claim promptly and provide all requested documentation. After a storm, fire, or other event that causes property damage, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible. This is because they will have certain deadlines to report claims, and also to start the process as early as possible (so you can get paid out as soon as possible). There are usually other documents or information you will be required to provide. For example, a Sworn Proof of Loss must typically be filed within 60 to 90 days, or a property damage claim can be denied under Florida law. Help the insurance company help you, and this can avoid some of the setbacks that other property owners encounter.
- Mitigate your damages. The insured bears a responsibility to “stop the bleeding” when property damage happens. For example, this can include immediate repairs to a damaged roof, replacement or boarding of broken window panes, cleanup and drying out of flood damage, and shutting off water valves when there is a plumbing leak. Failure to mitigate damages can give the insurer an excuse not to pay fairly on a claim, and at the very least will create delays in the handling of your claim.
- Hire an attorney to help with the claims process when issues arise. It is difficult to go through the property insurance process on your own, especially if this is your first time handling such an issue. The insurance companies are well trained to work this process to their advantage, and homeowners are not. This is why enlisting the help of a trusted Florida property damage attorney can be so valuable. A law firm such as ours has been there before for many property owners, and knows how to respond to an insurance carrier’s actions. We know what your insurance policy covers, and how to enforce those coverage provisions. Having an attorney as your partner can help facilitate a successful resolution of your claim when other efforts aren’t working.
Our Daytona, Florida Property Damage Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Common Pitfalls and Delays during the Insurance Claims Process
The Daytona property damage insurance attorneys at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., know the homeowner’s insurance process and how to help you avoid some of the problems that others may face. We also know the rights available to you and the responsibilities of the insurer under your policy. To discuss all options with our legal team, call our Daytona law offices today at 386-252-5170, or schedule a consultation with our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online.