Insurance policy language can be confusing. You may not have the coverage you think you do and you likely will not discover you are short on coverage until after disaster strikes.
The attorneys at Saavedra Goodwin can explain your policy so you know exactly what coverage you have. If the insurance company has reduced or denied your claim, we protect your rights under the terms of your insurance contract and Florida law. Our Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward County insurance claim lawyers assist with such complex concepts as actual cash value, replacement costs and law and ordinance coverage. Drawing on our more than 25 years of experience, our team can help you make the right choices about your insurance policies.
Actual cash value is similar to “fair market value” — in other words, what price would a willing buyer pay for the property before it was damaged? The term may also be described in the formula: Replacement costs minus depreciation. Using either definition, actual cash value (ACV) generally pays you less than you need to fully repair or replace the item.
For example, technology becomes obsolete and tends to decrease rapidly in value. Therefore, your five-year -old laptop computer has minimal value in today’s market. ACV would not cover the cost of purchasing a new one.
Replacement Cost (RCV) refers to the amount of money required to purchase new or replacement property of a comparable item. Using the above example, the insurance company would reimburse you for a new computer that served a similar function as the old one that was destroyed. You could, therefore, purchase a computer that incorporates 2014 technology, instead of the outmoded technology used in your five-year-old computer.
Policies that calculate your coverage based upon ACV often cost you less in premiums, but may leave huge gaps in coverage, especially if your home and contents are significantly damaged by a natural disaster, fire or other event. The RCV coverage may require that you make the repairs or purchases first and then submit your claim for reimbursement. Some insurance policies allow you to make a choice between ACV and RCV. You can take the ACV now or seek reimbursement based on RCV once you have completed repairs or purchases.
Florida and federal laws are constantly changing to reflect new safety and health findings. For example, South Florida counties passed stricter building code regulations after category 5 Hurricane Andrew decimated coastal communities in 1992. Subsequent hurricanes have also resulted in additional building code laws and heightened enforcement.
If your home was constructed under old regulations, you may not be in compliance with code if you rebuild your home using the same materials and construction standards. Yet, up-to-code windows, siding, roof shingles and structures may be substantially more expensive. Law and ordinance coverage pays for the code-mandated version of materials and construction techniques.
Our Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward County insurance claim lawyers explain special insurance policy provisions and protect your rights under the terms of your insurance contract. To schedule an appointment with Saavedra Goodwin, call 954.767.6333 or submit our online form.