The average property owner in Florida pays a significant amount of money annually for insurance coverage. In fact, in addition to a standard homeowners insurance policy protecting a gift criminal activity, liability and basic storm damage, many people also invest in hurricane insurance and flood insurance. These special policies provide protection for forms of damage not covered by a standard homeowners policy.
When a big storm hits your neighborhood and causes damage to your home, you may need to make a first-party claim against your own insurance policy. What does that process typically entail?
You need to inform the company of the damage
The first step in the process is submitting proof-of-loss forms, which is a special insurance form that declares specific damages and costs. You may have to provide evidence, including photos of the damage to your property or estimates from professionals who believe they can repair your property.
The company may even send out an insurance adjuster to look at the damage more closely and validate that it falls under the scope of the policy. Typically, Florida law requires a relatively quick turnaround time for this process. In most cases, the insurance company should respond to an initial claim within 14 days to confirm they have everything. They then usually have 30 days to make a decision.
If they approve your claim, they then have 20 days in which to make full payments. If they deny the claim, you have the right to appeal and present more evidence to show that the situation meets the standard established within your policy.
What if the insurance company still doesn’t cooperate?
Sometimes, insurance providers take no issue with denying coverage to an individual who deserves and has paid for that exact form of protection. Homeowners denied coverage that is clearly available to them under a policy that they have kept in good standing may have grounds for a bad faith insurance claim.
If such claims are successful, the insurance company could be responsible for paying the initial insurance claim and possibly also punitive damages due to their violation of insurance rules. The bigger your claim will be, the more likely it is that the insurance company will push more aggressively to settle it or reduce what they pay you. Knowing what to expect in a homeowner’s insurance claim can help those trying to rebuild after a storm.