The 2018 hurricane season has arrived and is predicted to be more active
than usual, with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. If we learned
anything from last year’s monster storm Irma and the numerous denied
insurance damage claims left in her wake, now is the time to prepare.
So, what are some things you can do now to prepare?
The first step is reviewing your homeowner’s insurance policy and
its coverages. Florida offers different types of homeowner’s insurance
policies, with the most common coverage known as the Special Form Policy
(H0-3). Under this policy, your home (dwelling coverage) and personal
belongings (content coverage) are included. The amount of insurance available
for these two coverages should be located in the insurance policy’s
However, most Florida residents insure just the value of their home. What
some homeowners do not realize, the actual cost of rebuilding your home
in the event of a total loss or substantial damage can be higher can actually
be higher than the house’s determined value. Further, even fewer
residents keep up-to-date records of personal belongings, such as furniture,
clothes, and appliances. Now is the time to make a detailed inventory
list of your personal belongings, document with photos, and if available,
save receipts of large purchases. This information should be stored digitally,
in the Cloud, and/or in a water proof container.
Do you need additional insurance coverage?
Review your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine whether or
not you are covered for any additional items. Possible additions include
Additional Living Expense Coverage, which reimburses your living expenses
if your home becomes uninhabitable, and Ordinance and Law Coverage, which
reimburses costs incurred as a result of rebuilding the home in compliance
with current building codes and zoning requirements.
What if the insurance company doesn’t pay for your storm damage claim in full?
Hopefully, when an individual makes a valid claim to his or her insurance
company, the company should assume responsibility and pay the appropriate
amount. Yet, that doesn’t always happen. Insurance companies often
refuse to pay, delay payments, or offer to pay significantly less than
what they are legally responsible.
Especially after a large natural disaster, such as a hurricane, insurance
companies will be tasked with providing financial help and full coverage
to thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of residents. Therefore,
insurance companies may resort to dishonest or bad faith insurance tactics
to save on costs.
Keep your eyes open for any of these behaviors from your property or boat insurer:
Delay: Insurance companies are supposed to send out an adjuster as soon as possible
to investigate reported damages and calculate the coverage amount. Bad
faith insurance occurs when insurance companies stall sending their adjusters
or delay handing a client’s claim, such as requesting additional
copies of already-provided paperwork.
Devalued: A dishonest insurance carrier may give a low-ball offer that will not
cover the repair or replacement of your damaged property. Homeowners unaware
of the unreasonably low offer may accept it and be shorted thousands of
dollars in entitled compensation.
Denial: Insurance companies can outright deny claims without following the proper
steps or giving acceptable reasons for doing so. If your claim was denied
with a generic letter, you most likely were denied for bogus reasons.
If you think bad faith insurance is interrupting your storm damage claim,
or if you would like to avoid any issues in the first place, you can contact
Darrigo, Diaz & Jiminez, Attorney at Law. We understand first-hand how difficult it is to pick up the pieces of
your life after a storm. Many members of our firm have personally experienced
property damage to our homes and property following hurricanes and tropical
storms. Our Tampa-trial attorneys can help review your filed claim and
stand up to insurance companies that use unsavory business tactics.
813-774-3341 today to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced property