As property insurance claim lawyers practicing in homeowner’s insurance claims, we would like to offer advice to Florida residents and property owners about things you should consider when filing a claim. The following list is by no means comprehensive, and some situations may call for different responses, but it gives the reader an idea of some issues of which they should be aware when filing a claim on their homeowner’s insurance policy. Some issues may be problematic for folks who own vacation property in Florida, especially if they are away from the property when a disaster strikes. Regardless of whether you are a year-round resident or a “snow bird,” your insurance company has an obligation to deal with you fairly when paying your loss. We can help you recover what you deserve if your homeowner’s insurance firm refuses to pay your claim.
Now that you have decided to file a claim, what are the best steps to take? The precise sequence depends on the nature of the claim, but there are a few steps every homeowner can take. First, you should document your claim. Must, if not all of us, have access to a camera. You should document the damage with photographs. Each homeowner should consider photographing their home in its pristine state, so when the time comes to file a claim, the homeowner can use the before and after shots to depict the extent of the damage. Florida vacation homeowners should strongly consider protecting themselves in this fashion. Additionally, homeowners should consider retaining receipts for high-value items. Keep them in a safety deposit box or fire-proof safe.
Many homeowners want to clean up after a disaster immediately. Resist the temptation to the greatest extent possible. Of course, you must take safety into consideration. But, if you can, leave the residence in the damaged state so that the adjuster can see the extent of the damage firsthand. Doing this gives the adjuster a feeling for the depth of your loss. Cleaning up, then asking for the adjuster to use his or her imagination is not nearly as effective. Again, this depends on the situation. However, you have a duty to prevent further loss. So, for example, if a window gets blown in from debris thrown through it during a hurricane, cover the window to limit the damage. Your insurance company may try to low-ball you when paying your claim if you allow more damage that you could have otherwise reasonably have prevented. You should ask around your neighborhood if there were witnesses to the damage giving rise to the claim. An unbiased witness can help you educate the insurance company, which should ease the claims process.
Many people believe that they can “pad” the price of the claim. You should resist the temptation. You can have a public adjuster come in and review the claim for what it is worth. The insurance company is more likely to pay that amount. Additionally, filing a false insurance claim is a crime and will certainly get you dropped by your insurance carrier, at a minimum. Lastly, be wary about cashing checks from the insurance company if you dispute the total loss. Do not cash a check that indicates the sum is for full and final settlement or words to that effect. Accepting a check in those terms prevents you from negotiating a greater amount and suing for greater damages.
Call South Florida’s Number One Homeowners Insurance Law Firm If You Have A Question About Your Rights and Responsibilities
Let South Florida’s Top law firm – as voted by the Miami Herald – Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano, represent you with your homeowner’s insurance policy claim. Call the South Florida homeowners insurance claim attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, & Urbano – an AV-rated firm by Martindale-Hubbell – today at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 to schedule your free consultation. The attorneys at Greenberg, Stone, and & Urbano have over 130 years of combined legal experience at your service.