25 Nov 2019

5 Costly Mistakes Florida Homeowners Make with Insurance Claims

Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez

The average Florida homeowner pays $1,918 in annual home insurance premiums, but only makes a claim every 10 years.1,2 That’s $19,180 in premium over that span.

As a policyholder, if your property is damaged, you have the right to file a claim with your insurance company and receive payment for your loss. However, there are mistakes that homeowners make when filing a property damage claim that unnecessarily cost them thousands of dollars.

Below are the five most common mistakes we see Florida homeowners make when filing a property damage claim with their insurance company.

Mistake #1 – Starting cleanup and repairs before notifying the insurance company

Once you file a property damage claim, your insurer will want to come out and inspect your property before any repairs begin. If you start repairs before then, the insurer may not pay for all or part of the damages, leaving you to cover some of the costs yourself.

Mistake #2 – Failing to secure the property to prevent additional damage

Although you must notify the insurance company before starting formal repairs, you have the contractual obligation to mitigate further damages from occurring. The conditions section of your insurance policy includes a clause that requires you to prevent additional loss to your property. Therefore, you should make temporary repairs, such as placing a tarp over your roof, boarding up broken windows, or removing fallen debris from your home.

Mistake #3 – Not obtaining sufficient documentation

One of the best ways to ensure you receive full compensation for your claim is to take thorough videos and photos of the property damage. If the insurance company tries to low-ball or deny your claim, you can provide evidence of the initial damage and better support your defense. If you lost belongings in the damaging event, make a detailed list of all items as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of leaving them out of the claim.

Mistake #4 – Hiring a “storm chaser”

When a tropical storm or hurricane produces widespread damage, scammers are known as storm chasers flock to the devastated areas to take advantage of vulnerable homeowners. These out-of-town roofing contractors often do the bare minimum to replace a damaged roof and can even manipulate homeowners to pay upfront for services never rendered. Beware of these individuals. Look for local phone numbers and addresses, and if in doubt, contact the Better Business Bureau.  

Mistake #5 – Accepting a denial

Florida Homeowner’s Insurance is a $90-billion-dollar business, with less than half of that being paid out annually to cover losses.3 With so much money at stake, many insurance companies routinely deny or reduce claims that should otherwise be paid. Insurers know that denied claims often go unchallenged and are out to win at your expense.

A denial or underpayment is not final. You pay your premiums and have the right to full compensation for your loss. Contacting a qualified attorney can help you get the respect and claim results you deserve.

Has your insurance company denied, disputed or delayed your property damage claim?

Our experienced insurance recovery attorneys can help you. At Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, we are passionate about protecting the rights of faithful policyholders whose insurance claims have been denied, disputed or delayed. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Expert, Nadine Diaz, our firm is known for obtaining maximum settlement values for our clients.

Don’t get left having to pay for something that should be taken care of by your insurance company. Contact Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez, Tampa’s Home Team, today for a free consultation. Call (813) 774-3341 to get started.

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