As homeowners across Florida are in the process of recovering from torrential storms, powerful wind and other harsh storm conditions that recently plagued our state, the tedious process of dealing with Florida property insurance companies now becomes a priority. While most home owners who suffered serious damage to their home in the recent storms have homeowners insurance, many people who file insurance claims know that insurers often fight to delay, deny or undervalue claims. Insurance companies also frequently promote convenient fictions to keep policyholders from filing a claim. Miami property insurance claims attorney J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo has provided some examples of myths promoted by insurance companies to demoralize policyholders so that they forgo their right to bring a claim after paying premiums for many years.
Myth #1: If you file a claim against your policy, the insurance company will raise your premiums.
When massive storms cause extensive loss for a large number of policyholders, insurance carriers increase rates for all policyholders. In other words, your insurance premiums will not generally be impacted based on whether you personally file a claim. If you forgo a claim, however, you will end up subsidizing your neighbor’s repairs while you are left out in the cold.
Myth #2: You can expect us to cancel your policy if you file a claim.
The law in Florida and most other states expressly prohibits insurance companies from canceling coverage merely because an insured has filed a legitimate claim. When an insurance company engages in this unethical practice, the carrier may be subject to liability for insurance bad faith.
Myth #3 You do not have a viable claim because you failed to notify us immediately of the incident and loss.
Insurance policies do impose deadlines for filing claims and submitting certain documents like a sworn proof of loss. However, policyholders are not precluded from filing a claim because they did not file their claim the day of the loss or the next day. Insurance policies allow you a reasonable time to file a claim, but you might want to consult with an experienced Florida insurance claims attorney to confirm deadlines that apply to your situation.
Myth #4 If your roof did not suffer significant damage, you are better off not filing a claim.
There is no requirement that your property suffer a catastrophic loss to justify filing a claim for the loss. In fact, you have the right to file a claim if you have suffered any loss caused by a covered peril. If you do not repair a problem that might seem minor involving your roof, it could cause more extensive damage in the future.
Myth #5 There is no reason to file a claim for damage to your roof from hail because no shingles have been dislodged.
Whether or not you have had shingles dislodged from your roof has nothing to do with determining if you have a valid claim for damage caused by hail. While hurricanes and severe wind often cause shingles to be dislodged, this is not the type of damage usually caused by hail. If your home is bombarded by a severe hail storm, you should consider having a qualified contractor examine your property to identify any damage.
If your claim for damage to your residence and personal property has been denied by an insurance company, you should not be detoured from filing an insurance claim by myths perpetrated by the insurance industry. Miami homeowner insurance claims lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo welcomes the opportunity to answer your questions and provide real answers. Mr. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles disputed claims 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.