Florida law obligates a homeowner’s insurer to notify a claimant of the claimant’s various rights and the insurance company’s obligations in writing. The insurance company must send these rights to the insured within 14 days from the day the insured gives notice of a claim. The rights are not subject to change unless the legislature or court decides to alter them. They are very important. Homeowners should familiarize themselves with their rights. Knowing what they are entitled to will make sure the insurance companies deal with homeowners fairly and honestly. If you any questions about your homeowner’s insurance policy, contact the Miami homeowners insurance lawyers from Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano.
While the Homeowner Claim Bill of Rights is critically important, it is neither an exhaustive list of the homeowner’s rights nor obligations of the insurance company. The Bill of Rights does not set forth independent grounds on which to sue an insurance company. Violations of these rights might give rise to a claim of bad faith on the part of the insurance company in rare circumstances. However, Florida’s insurance regulators need to know if insurance companies are violating homeowners’ rights granted by the Bill.
The rights listed in the statute, if followed, give the insured a timeline of events and related obligations of the insurance company. Remember, your insurance company has the duty to advise you in writing. The rights you have as a homeowner when you file a claim are:
- To know within 14 days that the insurance company received your claim;
- To make a written request to your insurance company to tell you if they will pay your claim, deny your claim, or pay a portion of your claim within 30 days;
- To should receive payment of your claim in full or the disputed portion of your claim within 90 days;
- To submit your claim to free mediation offered by the Florida Department of Financial Services, subject to certain limitations and conditions;
- To have a neutral examiner or engineer review your claim if your claim pertains to a sinkhole; and
- To contact the Florida Department of Financial Services to ask questions about your claim and the procedures for making a claim. The notice must provide an updated phone number and web address for the Department.
Your insurance company must include several items of advice contained in the rights form. They are common sense bits of information and may appear simplistic, but following them will help you perfect your claim and protect you against fraud. The statute requires the company to advise you to:
- Contact your insurance company before agreeing with any company to make repairs be certain that the repairs are approved, and the company approves of the contractor you hired. In some cases, you might need to select a contractor from a list approved by your insurance company;
- Make and document emergency repairs, take photos, and save receipts;
- Carefully read all contracts before you sign them and watch out for contracts that require a percentage of the insurance proceeds as payment;
- Confirm contractor’s licenses and check to see if consumers have filed complaints against them;
- Require contractors to provide proof of insurance; and
- Take the necessary steps to protect your home if you need to leave in an emergency such as shutting off gas and water, if it is safe to do so.
Protect Your Rights
The soundest protection of your rights comes in the form of experienced, successful, and zealous South Florida homeowners insurance attorneys from Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano. Together, they have 130 years of experience protecting their clients’ rights. Moreover, Martindale Hubbell gave them an AV rating and the Miami Herald nominated them as one of the best law firms in Miami. Call (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation and find out why.