If you experience devastating property damage to your home caused by a sinkhole, vandalism, fire or a hurricane, you might notice warning signs that your homeowners insurance carrier is not going to treat you fairly. One such red flag is an indication by the insurance adjuster that the company will repair the damage rather than replace the structure. Even if you have faithfully paid your premiums, this does not mean that you should trust your insurance company if you are told that replacement is not the appropriate resolution of your claim.
If an insured’s home is severely damaged by a natural disaster or criminal act within the scope of coverage under a homeowners policy, the policyholder should carefully review the language of the policy to determine if the policy covers replacement cost of the entire damaged property. Because insurance companies can increase their profit margin by only paying for limited repairs if the cost of replacement exceeds the cost of repair, your insurer might coax you to accept such half-measures.
An example of an insurance company only offering to perform repairs when replacement is more appropriate might involve damage to siding panels following a hurricane. The insurer might indicate that the damage can be addressed by repairing the damaged panels rather than replacing all siding panels. The new siding panels might not match the original panels, so the home’s appearance is adversely impacted by the color mismatch. This lack of uniform color can adversely affect the value of an insured’s home, so the decision of the insurance company not to replace all of the siding does not fully compensate the homeowner for his or her loss.
After reviewing your policy and determining that you paid for replacement cost coverage, you might need to negotiate with your insurance company to obtain replacement rather than repair. If you are uncertain whether insisting on replacement cost is appropriate or your insurance company is giving you the runaround, you should talk to a Florida insurance coverage lawyer. An attorney will recognize the appropriate evidence and arguments to support replacement as opposed to repair cost.
Although many people attempt to represent their own interests, policyholders have valuable rights under the terms of an insurance policy. Despite the fact that insurance companies generally owe a fiduciary duty to their policyholders, you should not rely on your insurance company to explain your rights under a policy when you make a claim. The insurance company’s financial interests are directly in conflict with your own when you file a claim against your homeowners policy, but your Florida insurance claims attorney will pursue your best interests and explain your legal rights.
Miami homeowners coverage attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo recognizes the importance of obtaining the settlement you are owed under a policy, so you and your family can move on after a disaster strikes. If you have questions about Florida insurance claims, you are welcome to contact my Miami insurance claims dispute law firm. My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes 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.