3 Important Tips for Homeowners Preparing to Cash a Property Damage Settlement Check

If you are in the midst of navigating the frustrating and windy road toward resolution of a homeowner’s insurance claim in Miami or other parts of Florida, the specter of a settlement can be enticing.  Many policyholders are so ready to cash the insurance check that the money is essentially spent before the payment arrives.  Although the process of closing out the insurance claims process might constitute a welcome relief, below we provide a number of justifications for not running to the bank.

Execution of a Waiver Releasing Claims: Payment of your homeowner’s claim may be conditioned on execution of a release barring you from pursuing any additional benefits under your insurance policy.  Even if you are not aware that you have a right to additional funds, all rights typically will be extinguished when you sign a release.  If you have not obtained legal representation to this point, you should talk to a Florida Insurance Claims Lawyer before signing settlement documents or cashing your settlement check.

Take a Timeout Prior to Cashing the Settlement Check: There are some necessary precautions policyholders should undertake when receiving a settlement check.  The most obvious priority is confirming that the amount of the settlement will pay for all of your repair costs.  Homeowners should analyze their losses and carefully reread their policy to determine whether the amount of the check is appropriate.  This means confirming that the contractor who is performing the work appears to be charging no more than the insurance company settlement.  When there is a discrepancy, you might want to have the insurance company communicate directly with the contractor to determine the basis for the disparity.  Any estimated shortfall for covering the repairs ideally should be worked out prior to the commencement of work.  The process might be long and convoluted based on the magnitude of the damage and your circumstances, so you should consider obtaining prompt legal advice.

Involvement of a Lender in the Insurance Claims Process: If your home suffers extensive damage, your loan mortgage company might receive the check or be named as a co-payee on the settlement checks.  This arrangement is designed to protect banks and other home lending institutions from impairment of their security interest in the home.  If you receive your settlement check with the mortgage company as a co-payee, it is important to contact the financial institution promptly to determine the process for obtaining the bank’s endorsement.  Time is of the essence in communicating with the bank because the contractor might have to submit a variety of documents that include a lien waiver, W-9, and repair affidavits.  Delays in terms of the contractor submitting these documents can significantly slow down payment processing and repairs, so you should be proactive in communicating with the contractor and lender, so you know the process is moving forward.  If the amount of the claim is significant enough, the mortgage company might keep the entire amount in an escrow account and make payment only after completion of the repairs.  After the financial institution is informed of completion of the work, an inspector will be dispatched to confirm the work has been finished.  This will trigger payment of the contractor.

Submission of Supplemental Claim: Frequently, property damage that was not apparent when repair work was commenced will be discovered during the construction process.  If this occurs, a supplemental claim needs to be submitted to the insurer.  The insurance company will typically request that a supplemental estimate for repairs be submitted.  The carrier also will probably conduct another inspection of the property to analyze the uncovered damage.

Our Miami insurance claims law firm invites you to contact us if you are having difficulties with your insurance company.  Miami bad faith insurance claims lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles property damage claims against insurance companies in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

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