How to File an Insurance Claim in Florida
When you purchase an insurance policy, you do so as a way to protect yourself and your property from damage, injury, or loss. If you are fortunate, you may never need to make a claim against your policy; however, the odds are that at some point, you will need to file an insurance claim.
When people are hurt in an accident or their homes have been damaged by a storm or other peril, they are already experiencing significant stress. They don’t need additional problems weighing them down. In these situations, knowing what steps to take to file an insurance claim can significantly decrease stress and anxiety, as well as speed up the approval and payment of a claim.
Steps to Take When Filing an Insurance Claim
Although the facts and circumstances surrounding the need to file an insurance claim are unique to each claim, some of the steps involved are the same no matter what. These steps are:
- Prevent further damage or injury. The need to file an insurance claim typically occurs because you have experienced damage to your home, loss of property, or injury to your person – or a combination thereof. Your insurance policy likely includes a provision that requires you to mitigate further damage, injury, or loss. Exactly what this requires depends on the circumstances. For example, if you suffered damage to your home because of a natural disaster it may mean arranging for the removal of live power lines as soon as possible. If you were injured in an accident. it could mean you need to seek medical care immediately. The point, however, is to do whatever you can to safely prevent the situation from worsening.
- Document the claim. If possible, take pictures of the scene if your home was damaged or you suffered a theft. The same applies if you were injured in an accident. In addition, if there were witnesses that can help establish the cause of your losses or injuries, be sure to get their contact information as well. Do not depend on the insurance adjuster to properly document your losses or injuries.
- Contact your insurance company. While it is important to mitigate any further damage/injury and to document the damage and/or injury to the best of your ability, it is equally important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. If it is feasible to do so, call your insurance company from the scene of the accident or loss. Along with providing them with an overview of the damage, you also need to let them know if you (or anyone else) were injured and if damage to your home makes it uninhabitable because additional steps may need to be taken by your insurance company.
- Obtain independent estimates and evaluations. After you have contacted your insurance company about your claim, they will likely send out a claims adjuster. The adjuster will detail the damages, loss, and/or injuries that you are claiming. Eventually, that report will provide the basis for the value of your claim, according to your insurance company. To ensure that you are reimbursed for all of your losses and injuries, however, you should obtain your own independent estimates and evaluations. For example, ask several contractors to provide written estimates for the cost to repair damage to your home and if items were stolen, get written estimates for the cost to replace them. If you were injured, keep copies of medical bills and ask for a future treatment plan that includes cost estimates.
Do I Need a Florida Insurance Claim Attorney?
Ideally, your insurance company will pay your claim in full and within a reasonable amount of time. Insurance companies, however, are just like any other business in the sense that they strive to make a profit from operating the business. Consequently, they will frequently try to undervalue a claim, delay the payment of a claim, or outright deny a claim. If you have filed an insurance claim that has not been paid in full within a reasonable amount of time or your claim has been denied, it may be time to consult with a Florida Insurance Claim Dispute attorney.
How Much Will a Florida Insurance Claim Dispute Attorney Cost?
If you have already suffered losses or injuries that have caused financial hardship, you may hesitate to contact an attorney about your insurance claim, thinking that doing so will cost you money that you do not have at the moment. The good news is that you will not be required to pay your attorney anything upfront. A Florida Insurance Claim Dispute attorney will only receive a fee if your claim is paid satisfactorily.
Where Can I Get Help with My Insurance Claim?
If you have a Florida insurance claim and the insurance company is refusing to pay your claim in full, we can help. Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Florida Insurance Claim Dispute attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.