According to Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) indicates that Florida accounts for 76% of the nation’s homeowners insurance lawsuits. Unfortunately, many insurance companies are reluctant to pay claims per policy terms. At Stabinski Law, we are all too familiar with insurance company tactics aimed to limit the amount of compensation paid to homeowners who have suffered catastrophic property damage. If you have filed an insurance claim or plan to file a claim for property damage sustained to your home, business, or any other insured property, consider contacting Stabinski Law today to receive a free consultation by calling (305) 643-3100. Property owners in Florida routinely experience the typical problems in the insurance claim process identified below.
Problem No. 1 – Denial of Valid Claim
Homeowners are often shocked when they receive an outright denial of a perfectly valid insurance claim. While keeping costs low is an important consideration for insurance companies, the denial of valid claims is conduct that violates many homeowners’ insurance policies. Acting in such bad faith has left many homeowners with damaged and unsafe living conditions.
Problem No. 2 – Offering Repair Over Replacement
A very common problem in the insurance claim process for many Florida homeowners is the offer to repair damage rather than replace damaged materials. Flood damage is just one of many examples. Homeowners with flood insurance who sustain damage are rightfully concerned that repairing damage rather than replacing damaged materials is an unsafe solution.
Despite insurance companies consistently failing to properly adhere to their own insurance provisions, federal flood insurance rates continue to rise nationwide. Regardless of the reasons for the increase in rates, insurance companies that fail to replace demonstrably damaged materials are oftentimes acting in bad faith.
Problem No. 3 – Discarding Damaged Materials
Following a flood, fire, or another event that results in property damage, immediate cleanup is necessary to minimize damage and prevent additional damage or harm. However, some homeowners mistakenly discard damaged materials that provide them with the evidence they need to show to an insurance company that a catastrophic event has taken place.
Pictures alone may not be sufficient to convince an insurance company that a claim is valid. Preserving damaged materials during the cleanup process is paramount when pursuing a homeowners’ insurance claim. At Stabinski Law, our experience assisting clients with the insurance claim process has taught us that discarding damaged materials can be detrimental to the success of the insurance claim.
Problem No. 4 – Failure to Maintain Property
Another typical problem in the insurance claim process is the assertion by an insurance company that a property owner’s failure to maintain the property is the cause of damage or at least a significant contributing factor to the damage in question. Such an assertion may be disputable, but many property owners have difficulty working with the insurance company without the assistance of a legal professional. Without an advocate to speak on a client’s behalf, clients are treated unfairly, taken advantage of, and oftentimes left with more problems than when they started.
Problem No. 5 – Low Settlement Offer
One very important reason why many homeowners turn to an insurance claims attorney is that insurance companies are well known for offering initial low settlement amounts that do not even come close to covering the damage and repairs or replacements necessary. Low settlement offers can be enticing for some homeowners because the offers may come quickly, and quick money may be more attractive than waiting to obtain a fair amount.
For instance, a settlement offer to a property owner within six weeks of filing a claim may seem like a slam dunk when the alternative is waiting months and months to receive fair compensation. Depending on a homeowner’s situation, an early settlement may be a good option, but waiting to receive a fair settlement offer could possibly yield much higher amount compensation that will appropriately provide the homeowner with the financial ability repair or replace damaged materials.
Problem No. 6 – Disagreement Over Interpretation of Policy
Disagreement among a property owner and insurance company concerning the interpretation of the applicable insurance policy is a typical problem in the insurance claim process. What may seem like clear language to a property owner is interpreted completely differently by the insurance company. Insurance policies are worded in favor of the insurance companies.
Leaving ambiguity in the language causes confusion and frustration. Florida insurance claims attorneys are familiar with such a manipulation tactic that deters many property owners from fighting to receive the compensation they deserve.
Problem No. 7 – Delaying the Claims Process
Insurance companies are notorious for delaying the processing of many homeowners and other property insurance claims. Such a delay leads many property owners to give up or accept low settlement offers. Additionally, delays in repairs or the replacement of materials can be detrimental to the health and safety of the property in question. Living in a home with water damage, for example, poses a serious health risk.
Exposure to mold – especially black mold – can cause severe illness. Many insurance companies become the subject of lawsuits when they fail to process claims promptly, and a failure to act swiftly causes physical harm to homeowners. Delay is, unfortunately, a typical problem in the insurance claim process that burdens homeowners across the state of Florida.
Contact Stabinski Law Today for a Free Consultation
If you have filed a homeowners’ insurance claim or plan to file a claim, it is important to know your rights and avoid insurance company manipulation. If you have experienced typical problems in the insurance claim process, you are not alone. At Stabinski Law, we take measures to ensure our clients are not taken advantage of by insurance companies that seek to minimize the amount of compensation awarded to a homeowner. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation, consider reaching out to Stabinski Law today by calling (305) 643-3100. Our legal team is standing by to provide you with the case evaluation you deserve.