Homeowners Insurance Facts For Property Damage Claims
What is homeowners insurance, and what kinds of property can be covered after storm damage?
Residential property policies in Florida vary depending upon your living situation. Different policies exist for single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes, mobile homes, or rental property. The policies provide protection against specified risks or actions that may damage your property or possessions.
While these coverages very, a typical homeowners insurance policy provides protection for the following losses:
• Coverage A: Structure (your home, townhome, condo, etc.)
• Coverage B: Other Structures (fences, gazebos, sheds, etc.)
• Coverage C: Personal Property (contents of structures, sometimes even off-site storage)
• Coverage D: Loss of Use (frequently identified as ALE or additional living expense)
• Coverage E: Personal Liability
• Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others
Coverages A through D (Structure, Other Structures, Personal Property and Loss of Use) set forth the property coverages available to you. Coverages E and F (Personal Liability, Medical Payments to Others) provide liability coverage to you and your family.
Property coverages provide protection to you for damage to your dwelling, your personal property within your home and personal property owned by family members living with you. This policy may also provide coverage for personal property belonging to dependent children while they are away at college.
Typical policies limit coverages for various types of personal property such as the following:
Most insurance companies allow you to obtain additional coverages for the above items with payment of an additional premium.
Coverage D (Loss of Use- frequently identified as ALE or additional living expense) covers you for expenses you incur if your home becomes uninhabitable as a result of damage or while being repaired. This coverage typically extends to circumstances when the state or county officials prohibit access to your dwelling due to damage sustained by neighboring dwellings.
Loss of Use coverage usually provides for the following:
• Temporary housing
• Relocation costs
• Storage of personal property (undamaged by the loss)
• Additional cost for food (cost of eating out minus “typical food expense)
There may be limits on this coverage as defined by your policy. Additionally, there is no requirement that your insurance company pay these ALE expenses upfront. Accordingly, keeping receipts for all of your expenditures is essential in order to allow for submission to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Coverages E and F (Personal Liability, Medical Payments to Others) provide protection to you and your family against claims by others (you or family members residing with you) for personal injuries or property damage not related to an auto accident. This coverage will pay claims up to the policy limit and will provide you with an attorney should it become necessary to defend the claim. These coverages will not provide any protection for intentional acts by you or your family that cause damage or injury.
How our law firm can help you with your storm damage claim
The most common disputes that arise between policyholders and insurance companies involve coverage issues, the extent of damages, and bad faith claims handling.
If your insurance company is denying payment to you before your losses claiming that they are not covered by your policy, it is important that you speak with property damage attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies typically evaluate facts in a manner most favorable to them. Our experienced team can review your policy, assess your losses, and prepare appropriate responses to your insurance company.
Disagreements between you and your insurance adjuster regarding the extent of your damages is a common occurrence. This includes amounts allocated for repairs or even disputes regarding whether repairs or even feasible. Our firm’s experience in evaluating damages and negotiating with adjusters can be invaluable to you in this process.
Finally, you have paid your premiums, filed your claim timely, and taken appropriate steps to mitigate your damages yet your insurance company fails or otherwise refuses to act fairly and honestly while handling your claim. If that occurs, you may have a bad faith claims handling cause of action. Florida Statute 624.155 sets forth the criteria for this cause of action.
Why A Lawyer Is Better Than A Public Adjuster
As attorneys representing you in this process, we can provide appropriate statutory notices to your insurance company (a public adjuster cannot do this) that create pressure on your insurance company to ensure that they act properly and in a timely fashion. If they fail to do so, we are prepared to take appropriate action to protect your rights.
If you live in southwest Florida, in affected communities like Port Charlotte, North Port, Englewood or Ft Myers and have experienced damages and losses due to Hurricane Ian or another storm, let us work to help you obtain the maximum recovery your homeowners insurance allows.
Call (941) 625-4878 to speak to a claims specialist now.