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Home insurance and all other forms of insurance coverage are not without disputes. Homeowners who suffer a loss often find themselves with insurance adjusters who fail to approve their claim. Florida is no stranger to homeowners insurance disputes. At VG Law Group, our Orlando homeowners insurance claims lawyers are ever ready to help clients get the settlement they deserve. 

What Is Homeowners Insurance? 

According to Investopedia, homeowners insurance is a form of property insurance covering losses and damages to a home. It also covers damages to furnishings and other assets in a residence. Homeowner's insurance includes liability coverage against accidents in the home or property. 

Generally, the insurance coverage covers interior damage, exterior damage, loss of personal assets, and injury to third parties on the property. When a person claims any of the preceding, the homeowner will first pay a deductible, before the insurance company covers the rest. 

Common homeowners insurance claims cover: 

  • Wind and Hail: It covers destruction from natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes and makes up 34% of all claims. 
  • Fire and Lightning Damage: It makes up 32% of homeowners insurance claims, which is one of the most common and most expensive. 
  • Water Damage and Freezing: When a pipe bursts or leaks, it leads to flooding in a home and damages many appliances. It is common and makes up 24% of homeowners insurance claims. 
  • Non-Theft Property Damage: It makes up 6% of claims and covers miscellaneous property damage. It could be a tree falling through the roof or a baseball going through a window. 
  • Liability Claims: It is rare but expensive, explaining why it makes up only 2% of home insurance claims. It covers slip and fall injuries and other harm a visitor might suffer on a property. Property owners use it to pay medical expenses for injured visitors or damaged stolen property. 
  • Theft: It makes up 1% of valid claims. Homeowners use it to recover from the loss of stolen personal property after a burglary or break-in.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Policy in Florida

Orlando and other parts of Florida are not strangers to natural disasters. Tornado and hurricane damage have ravaged homes for years. This is why homeowners take out insurance policies to protect their property. 

Below are some of the most common types of property insurance policies in Florida:

  • Wind policy
  • Building codes and wind policy
  • Flood insurance
  • Liability policy
  • Fire insurance 

In each of these policies, the coverage types are as follows:

  • Coverage A includes payment for damage or destruction to a house and other unattached structures. 
  • Coverage B includes structures like a garage, deck, or swimming pool.
  • Coverage C covers personal property destroyed, damaged, or stolen. 
  • Coverage D covers for loss of use and pays for additional living expenses if the house gets destroyed. It is common in cases of storm damage or flood damage. 
  • Coverage E is for liabilities and protects the property owner against financial loss. It applies in personal injury lawsuits where the house owner is liable for another person's injury or property damage. 
  • Coverage F is for medical payments for the person injured on a property. 

How To File Homeowners Insurance Claims?

When a home suffers structural damage, sinkhole damage, smoke damage, other forms of natural disaster or loss, the owner has the right to bring a claim to the insurance company. First, the house owner must ensure they have a valid insurance claim. It means the insurance policyholder must not claim in bad faith. 

A valid claims process will involve the following: 

  • The property owner will inform the insurance provider of the loss and the events leading to it.
  • The insurance company will assign an insurance adjuster to determine if the policyholder has a legitimate claim.
  • The adjuster would commence an investigation. It may include a written estimate of the property damage claim. Also, the homeowner would provide representative documents relevant to the property. 

Note that the property owner would also provide a recorded statement under oath. Before doing the preceding or the above, consult an experienced insurance law attorney. Many disputes with insurance companies are from information provided by unprepared and informed policyholders.

Policyholders who misplace their policy of insurance can request a certified copy from the insurance carrier. Under Florida law, the insurer has 30 days to provide the copy upon request. An insurance attorney with extensive experience can also quicken the process. 

Additionally, insurance companies must accept or deny claims within 90 days. If they accept the claim, they have 20 days to issue a payment. But in practice, this is not always the case, as insurers are reluctant to pay homeowners. 

Why Insurance Providers Deny Homeowners Insurance Claims?

Following the right claims process and having a valid claim does not guarantee that the insurance company will grant benefits. Adjusters are looking for ways to save money, so they are more likely to reject a claim than grant it. 

One common reason for denial is when the policy does not cover the damage. It means that if a policy is for wind damage, the insurer will not pay for water or flood damage. Another reason why claims get denied is a time-lapse. A property owner who wastes time filing a claim would likely have it statute-barred. 

Another reasonable basis for claims denial is damage not exceeding the deductible. Furthermore, if the policyholder misses a payment or fails to update the insurance company about a change in circumstance, the claim for benefits would fail. 

Other reasons why homeowners claims get denied are: 

  • Failure to provide sufficient information on damages.
  • Mistakes in the claim. Mistakes trigger a fraud investigation.
  • Failure to mitigate additional damages during investigations by the insurer.
  • A mistake by the insurance company. In this instance, the homeowner would need to get legal representation before continuing the process. 
  • Bad faith insurance. Here, the insurance provider would deny the claim without a justifiable reason. They put their interest above that of their client, focusing on their bottom line. When this happens, get an insurance claim attorney involved. 

A claim denial is not the end of the process. By enlisting an Orlando property insurance lawyer's help, a homeowner can file an insurance lawsuit against the insurance company.  The insurance claim attorney would examine the case to find the reasons for the denial. 

What Is the Role of an Orlando Property Insurance Lawyer? 

Whether or not the insurance company has a legitimate reason for denying a valid homeowner insurance claim, it is wise to get a lawyer involved at this point. Orlando homeowners insurance claim lawyers would handle everything regarding the claims process. 

The legal service includes gathering evidence, accessing them, and trying to negotiate outside a courtroom. If the negotiations fail, the attorney will file a lawsuit, and if it doesn't succeed, they will fail an appeal. The lawyer would also provide advice on the best time to file a lawsuit. 

In Florida, homeowners have four years to commence an action for a denied homeowners insurance claim. The time starts counting from the date the incident occurred. Most people are unaware of this legal provision, hence the need for experienced lawyers. Furthermore, an attorney would attend all meetings and ensure they get the maximum settlement available. They will explain legal terms and simplify them. 

Orlando Homeowners Insurance Claims Lawyers Can Help!

It's hard to lose a home to natural disasters or have someone suffer injuries on your property. It's equally more difficult when the insurance company that is meant to alleviate the hardship fails to do so without justifiable reasons. Trying to get answers alone can be daunting, but with our help, things would be easier. 

At VG Law Group, we pride ourselves on fighting for those who can't and getting them the help they need. Our clients are our focus, and we dedicate our time and resources to getting them justice. We can do the same for you. Contact us today for a free case review. 

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