Be Aware of These Common Exclusions and Limitations in Your Fire Insurance Policy

Florida homeowners purchase homeowner’s and fire insurance policies with one purpose in mind, which is to protect their family from financial loss in the event of an unforeseen disaster.  The insurance policy provides peace of mind, and many homeowners rest comfortably at night believing that their hard-earned possessions and homes are covered if a fire occurs.  But this is not always the case, as some Florida homeowners have discovered the hard way.  An insurance company may use a number of strategies to deny, delay, or limit your claim for losses sustained in a home fire.

Asserting the damage caused by smoke or water.  A rather underhanded tactic used by some insurance companies is to deny claims where the damage was not actually caused by fire but instead caused by smoke from the fire or water from the fire department’s hoses. 

Damage to historical features of your home or one-of-a-kind items of property.  When you suffer a covered fire-related loss, the insurance company will typically compensate you by giving you either the fair market value or the actual replacement cost of the items damaged or lost.  In the case of one-of-a-kind antiques that are lost or historic features of a home that are damaged, however, you may find your insurance company to be less-than-eager to fully compensate you for your losses.  Instead of compensating you for the cost of repairing historically-accurate crown molding, for example, your insurance company might only compensate you enough to replace the damaged features of the home with generic, readily-available crown molding.  Again, homeowners should check their policies to learn what their insurance policy covers.  In some circumstances, you may be able to purchase additional coverage for rare or hard-to-replace items.

Damage caused by non-covered perils.  Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by a fire that is generated as the result of lightning.  If a major earthquake causes a fire to erupt in your home, your coverage might not extend to items damaged form the movement of the earth unless your policy covers earthquakes. Your insurance company may attempt to avoid paying your claim by improperly asserting that damage was caused by a non-covered peril as opposed to a covered peril, such as fire.

If your insurance carrier is refusing to comply with its contractual obligation, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Miami insurance claims attorney.  My law firm specializes in representing policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. Click here to read about some of our case results.  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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