06 Jul 2018
DDJ Property Claims: Don’t become a victim of denied insurance claims for hurricane damage!
Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez
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 declaration pages.
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.
Call 813-774-3341 today to schedule a free case evaluation with our highly-experienced property claims team.