If you own property, you likely purchased an insurance policy to protect your investment in the event you suffer losses because your property is damaged. Your part of that contract is to pay your insurance premiums on time. You expect your insurance company to honor their part of the contract – paying a claim in full and without delay. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. In fact, there are a variety of problems you may encounter with your insurance company after you file a property damage claim.
Common Problems When Filing a Property Damage Claim
After you make an initial claim for property damage, your insurance company will send out an adjuster to evaluate your claim. Keep in mind that it is the adjuster’s job to keep the cost of claims to a minimum. As such, some of the most common problems you may encounter include:
- Failure to mitigate damages. Your insurance policy likely has a provision in it that requires you to mitigate damages. That means you are expected to prevent further damage to your property or belongings. For example, if a tree falls on your roof and causes a hole, you might be expected to put a tarp over the hole, move valuable items from underneath the hole, and remove your family from the area of the damage to prevent further damage or injury. If the adjuster believes you failed to mitigate damages it might result in a refusal to cover all damages.
- Missing evidence. It can be tempting to start cleaning up immediately after your home suffers damage; however, doing so can have a negative impact on your claim. The insurance adjuster will want to see the damage exactly as it is before you start cleaning up. That also means that you should not throw any debris away because the adjuster may become suspicious about the cause of your damages if you do so.
- Disagreement with the insurance company’s choice of contractor. Your policy may call for you to use a specific contractor or to choose from a list of “authorized” contractors when it comes time to repair the damage to your property. As a property owner, it can be frustrating if you do not see eye-to-eye with the contractor and can be downright problematic if you feel the contractor is not doing an adequate job repairing the damage.
- Never-ending request for documents. A common insurance company tactic when trying to delay or deny a claim is to ask for document after document from the insured. They know that an insured has just suffered a loss and may not be able to find the requested document or may not have it at all because too much time has passed since the document was issued.
- Undervaluing the cost of damages. Many of these potential obstacles an insurance company puts in your path can ultimately lead to undervaluing your claim for damages. If you have paid your premiums on time, it can be extremely upsetting to have your insurance company offer you less than what you know it will cost to repair/replace what has been damaged.
- Unreasonable delay. When your property has been damaged, it often impacts your entire life. This is particularly true if the damage causes your home to be uninhabitable. When an insurance company unreasonably delays payment of your claim, it adds unnecessary stress and anxiety to an already difficult situation.
Do I Need a Florida Property Damage Claim Attorney?
If you recently filed a property damage claim with your insurance company and you have experienced problems with getting your claim paid in full and in a timely manner, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Florida property damage claim attorney. An attorney will evaluate your insurance policy as well as the damages you suffered prior to contacting the insurance company to negotiate on your behalf. If an out-of-court settlement appears impossible to reach, your attorney will advocate on your behalf in court to ensure that you are compensated in full for your damages.
Will I Need to File a Lawsuit?
Most property damage claims are resolved without needing to file a lawsuit; however, if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, your property damage claim attorney will do so to protect your interests. If a lawsuit is filed and a trial becomes necessary, your attorney will fight for you and your rights at trial.
How Much Will a Florida Property Damage Claims Attorney Cost?
You may be concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney when you have a dispute with your insurance company. However, you should not let concerns regarding additional out-of-pocket expenses stop you from pursuing your rights.
A Florida property damage claims attorney will not charge you anything upfront. Instead, your attorney will only receive a fee if a satisfactory settlement is reached or if you are awarded compensation at trial.
Where Can I Get Help with My Florida Property Damage Claim?
If you suffered property damage and your insurance company has undervalued, denied, or delayed your claim, call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Florida property damage claims attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.