Florida insurance law is a comprehensive set of statutes that govern how insurance companies operate within the state. Florida’s insurance laws serve the consumers in the state and protect them from unfair business practices. A vital component of legitimate insurance business focuses on compensating their insured adequately for their loss. Otherwise, unfair business practices committed by insurance companies can cause a homeowner to lose money and lead toward financial ruin. Florida homeowners claim attorneys must be very familiar with the laws that regulate Florida’s insurance industry so they can provide their clients with appropriate legal advice and help them maximize their client’s recovery.
To comply with Florida law, the insurance carrier must off their customer a choice between two alternative repayment schemes. The insurer must offer the homeowner the option to choose between replacement cost or actual cash value. Replacement cost may not exceed the company’s liability under the policy. Importantly, replacement cost may not include expenses paid to bring the dwelling into compliance with health and safety codes or the cost of tearing the structure down and removing debris.
The insurance company must also inform its customers of the option to select a different repayment option. The insured may choose the replacement cost of the lost items, not to exceed the policy limits. This option allows the insured to include the compliance expenses in the amount adjusted by the insurance company. However, the amount spent bringing the premises into compliance is limited to either 25 or 50% of the total cost of the home. The homeowner selects the percentage. This additional coverage is known as law and ordinance coverage.
The owner can waive the two offers. The waiver must be in writing. A written waiver creates a presumption that the policyholder made and knowing and intelligent waiver of the proposed other coverage and agrees to the default provision. If properly rejected, then the policy automatically includes “law and ordinance” coverage up to 25% of the cost of the dwelling. The other coverage does not automatically renew, and the homeowner must request an extension of this coverage in writing. The insurance company has an obligation to inform their insured that the coverage is available every three years if the insured did not select the coverage. Failure of the insurance company to follow this procedure constitutes a violation of the statute.
The law differentiates between real property and personal property in terms of how the insurance company must compensate the homeowner for the loss. On the loss of a home, the insurance company must pay the actual cash value of the property, with an adjustment made for payment of the deductible by the homeowner. If the home is a total loss, then the insurance company may not hold back any funds for depreciation of the home.
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy treats personal property differently. The policy must offer the homeowner the opportunity to select coverage that will pay the actual value of the lost or destroyed property without reservation for depreciation, even if the homeowner does not replace the property. On the other hand, the insurer can give the homeowner the option of receiving the actual cash value of the property that needs to be replaced and, in return, provides a receipt to the insurance company that the initial payment was made toward replacing the item. This process continues until the property is paid in full. The insurer must record this procedure in writing within the homeowner’s policy.
Contact Miami Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorneys If Questions About Your Rights Under Your Insurance Contract
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