If you have filed a homeowner’s insurance claim after a fire, wind storm, burglary, water damage, or other covered peril, you know that purchasing homeowner’s coverage is less complicated than successfully pursuing a claim. In the best scenario, you will have to satisfy a litany of conditions before your home is repaired or rebuilt. Many homeowners find the process much more complicated because their insurance company fails to uphold its contractual obligations to investigate and pay the claim. Because my law firm routinely represents homeowners stonewalled by their insurance companies, we have provided some answers to common questions about homeowner’s insurance and property damage claims.
Are all homeowner’s insurance policies essentially the same?
Homeowner’s polices can vary significantly in term of the scope and extent of coverage. Some policies provide coverage only for explicitly named perils, such as wind or lightning. These types of policies will also contain a number of exclusions. By contrast, other policies will expand the perils covered and have fewer exclusions, but expressly exclude flood and earthquake coverage. There are also policies that are specifically intended for condominiums.
How will the insurance company determine the replacement value of my personal property?
The method of valuation used for the contents of your home is based on the expense associated with replacing the item with the same or similar items. If you are trying to determine the amount of personal property coverage you need to purchase, you should draft a personal inventory with the estimated price paid for each item. If your inventory provides details in terms of the manufacturer, make, model and cost associated with each item of personal property, you will have a better chance to maximize the amount you are paid for your damaged or destroyed personal property.
What is the difference between the sale price of my home and replacement cost?
Generally, replacement value will provide substantially more protection to a homeowner. The replacement value represents the cost to rebuild or replace your home irrespective of the actual purchase price paid for the home. This method of valuation will be based on the same workmanship and materials originally used to construct the home without adjustments for maintenance issues, depreciation and declines in market values.
How do I cover the cost of temporary rental housing while I am awaiting repair of my home?
Florida homeowner’s insurance policies will include “loss of use” or "additional living expenses" ("ALE") coverage for such expenses. Loss of use coverage is intended to pay for additional living expenses incurred for temporary displacement from your home until you home can be repaired. However, this type of coverage might be limited to certain restrictions or limits, so you should carefully review your policy regarding any caps in terms of the amount paid or duration. The coverage also might only apply if the damage renders your home uninhabitable. If the damage is to the kitchen, bathrooms or bedrooms, this will typically make the home uninhabitable.
Does my homeowner’s insurance cover personal property in my vehicle?
Typically, you homeowner’s coverage will extend to personal property stolen from your vehicle. However, the financial protection might be limited because of the deductible and policy limits for this form of loss.
If you have questions about Miami-Dade homeowners’ claims, you are welcome to contact my Miami insurance claims 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.