You may have lived in your home for years without facing any of Florida’s many natural disasters, and you feel secure in the knowledge that your property insurance policy is there to protect you if your luck changes. You have carefully chosen your coverage with your agent, you have reviewed your coverage summary page (declaration page) and you even reviewed the insurance company’s website to learn exactly what you to need to do if disaster strikes.
No matter how well you prepare, our Broward County insurance claim lawyers have seen enough claim issues to tell you that surprises often arise at claim time. That said, you are encouraged to educate yourself — including knowing when you need help to protect your rights to a fair claim adjustment and swift payment.
The Claims Process is Not as Simple as it Seems
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is likely to remain the foremost provider of property insurance in Florida. They provide a seemingly straightforward description of the life of a claim to describe what property owners can expect when they sustain losses. However, any of the four steps can involve unexpected issues, such as the following:
- Reporting a claim asks property owners — who may have been completely displaced from their property — to furnish details about their policies and mortgage companies, along with a visual assessment of the damage. Records can be destroyed in a disaster, and even a preliminary assessment of the damage might not be possible.
- Getting a property loss inspection can be arranged with a phone call, but you have to perform many steps to prepare for this event. Ideally, you will need to take your own photos of the damage, retain all receipts for damage-related expenses and be prepared with a personal property inventory along with a list of questions for the claims adjuster. If you are not fully prepared, however, you place all the power in the hands of an insurance company representative whose main role is to save money for the insurance company in any way possible.
- Going through the review process essentially involves learning how much the company will pay for your claim. You may have some mental concept of the value of your claim, but the chances are good that the insurance company’s offer will be less than you expect it to be. Unless you understand the details of the complex language in your policy, you may have difficulty fighting for your rights.
- Receiving payment may seem like the simplest part of the process. However, if you have a mortgage, the lender’s name may appear on any check you receive. You have to work directly with that lender to find out how to get the check endorsed to you.
When a Major Property Loss Leaves You Vulnerable, You May Not Hold All the Cards
Anyone who has experienced any form of property loss knows that insurance claims do not always proceed as expected. While insurance companies are not required to pay any more than the policy language dictates, any major loss can leave you susceptible to accepting less than the full value of your claim if you do not know what to ask for or demand.
Before you sign an offer that will leave you with significant out-of-pocket expenses, it is a good idea to seek advice from an experienced property insurance claims attorney. Call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form to find out if you have more rights than expected for your claim.