Importance of Homeowners Insurance: New Study Reveals Florida Highest Hazard Risk

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

While all homeowners are exposed to the risk of damage to their home caused by adverse weather and other hazards, a recent study reported on the website insurancejournal.com suggests that property coverage is especially important for Florida residents.  During the last 14 months, a parade of atypical weather events across the U.S., including scorching heat during the summer and one of the coldest winters in recent decades, have caused substantial losses to property owners.

A recent study that evaluates the prevalence of hazards resulting in insurance claims in all fifty states and the District of Columbia ranked Florida first in terms of the highest risk posed by hazard risks.  Florida’s “Hazard Risk Score” was 94.51, which dwarfed RI with a risk score of 79.67, which was the state with the second highest risk of hazard.  The rating system referred to as the CoreLogic Hazard Risk Score was designed to guide insurers and homeowners in assessing the locations most likely to suffer severe events causing loss in the future.

This scale provides guidance to homeowners that can be used to guide decisions regarding the parameters of coverage in terms of identifiable risks.  The probability and frequency of hazards constitute key factors in identifying risk levels.  The study also provides a breakdown of types of hazards by geographical location which can provide guidance in determining relative risk levels of competing hazards.  While earthquake hazards might not justify much concern in Florida, as opposed to California, the risk of hurricane and wind storms is far more significant in our state.

Homeowners need to carefully evaluate their insurance coverage regarding the scope of risks and policy limits.  Some significant risks might fall outside standard policy coverage and necessitate riders and supplemental premiums.  A common example is flood insurance which is not a standard part of homeowners coverage in Florida.  Rather, homeowners in areas prone to flood damage might be well advised to consider obtaining supplemental coverage for flood damage.  Similarly, sinkhole damage is a risk that is particularly relevant to Florida homeowners, so policyholders might want to ensure they have adequate coverage for these types of hazards.

Even when Florida property owners purchase adequate coverage, this does not mean that an insurance company will fulfill its contractual obligations in the event you experience a loss.  Given that Florida homeowners face a higher risk of loss from hazards than those in any other state, the risk you might need to fight your insurance company to adjust and pay the full value of your claim in a timely manner increases significantly.  When your insurance company unjustifiably stalls, denies or underpays your claim, an experienced Miami insurance attorney can help you protect your rights and obtain the fair value of your claim.  While some denials are the product of legitimate disagreements over issues of coverage or the value of a claim, bad faith conduct by your insurer might not only justify recovery for the full value of your claim under your policy but also extra-contractual damages.

If your insurance company refuses to pay you in a timely fashion when you submit a claim, my law firm might be able to help.  An experienced Miami homeowners insurance attorney can help you counter such denials.   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.

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