In some circumstances, a dispute with your insurance company can seem like an inevitability. From the moment you file your claim, you get the run-around, your assertions of damage are met with skepticism, and it seems like there is nothing you can do to get your insurer to uphold the terms of your policy.
Unfortunately, for many South Florida homeowners, this is an all-too-common scenario. From national insurance companies to state and regional insurers, homeowners routinely find it difficult – if not impossible – to get their insurance companies to pay what they owe. If you are struggling to secure payment from your insurer, you may need to file a dispute to secure the coverage you are legally owed.
Methods for Resolving Insurance Coverage Disputes in Florida
There are two primary ways to resolve insurance coverage disputes: negotiation and litigation.
1. Negotiating Coverage for Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim
Most insurance disputes are resolved informally through negotiation. With legal representation, homeowners can often secure payment when they have been unsuccessful in obtaining coverage on their own. Insurance companies use a variety of tactics to delay and deny homeowners’ claims (including many tactics which cross the line into bad faith), and it often takes getting an attorney involved to get the insurance companies to handle their policyholders’ claims appropriately.
Importantly, negotiating a resolution does not necessarily mean accepting a compromise. Your insurance company’s obligations are clear under the terms of your policy – it is getting your insurance company to comply that is the issue. When insurance companies know that they could be risking litigation by continuing to treat policyholders unfairly, they will often accept that they must meet their legal and contractual duties.
2. Securing Coverage through Insurance Litigation
In some circumstances, insurance coverage disputes will need to be resolved through litigation. This could be the case if (i) your insurance company refuses to acknowledge that it is engaging in bad faith, or (ii) there is a legitimate question as to whether the damage to your home is covered under your policy. While litigation can be time-consuming, it can also be necessary, and occasionally homeowners will find that their only option is to take their insurance company to court.
Like all types of lawsuits, insurance coverage litigation follows a defined process. This process includes the filing of initial pleadings, discovery (where both sides can request documentation from one another), pre-trial motions, and the presentation of evidence in court. However, the parties can still agree to negotiate a settlement at any time, including during trial, and a negotiated settlement remains the most likely outcome even when you file an insurance coverage lawsuit.
Are You Struggling to Obtain Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage? Schedule a Consultation Today
If you believe that your insurance company is handling your homeowner’s claim in bad faith or that your property damage claim has been unjustly denied, we encourage you to speak with one of our attorneys about your rights. To schedule a consultation at our offices in Fort Lauderdale, please call (954) 767-6333 or request an appointment online today.