Florida homeowners insurance coverage provides a valuable form of financial security to homeowners when their homes are damaged in a fire, storm or other covered natural or manmade event. As a Florida property damage claims attorney, my law firm represents homeowners who are struggling to compel their insurance company to uphold its contractual obligations. Although representation by a knowledgeable insurance claims lawyer can provide a valuable advantage in such disputes, a more thorough understanding of homeowners insurance coverage issues also can make the process go more smoothly. We have provided six insurance issues to be considered by homeowners.
Will my homeowners insurance protect me if a neighbor slips on my porch and suffers a spinal injury?
Homeowners coverage includes liability coverage for damages arising from this type of personal injury lawsuit. If you are facing a lawsuit that alleges negligent conditions on the property caused the fall, your insurance carrier typically has a duty to defend you in the lawsuit and indemnify you to the extent of your policy limits. If you have medical payments coverage in your homeowners policy this coverage will pay for medical costs related to injuries from an accident on your property, irrespective of fault up to the policy limits of this coverage.
Are there types of hazards that a homeowners policy does not typically cover?
While homeowners policies differ in terms of the types of perils covered, some examples of the types of hazards that many homeowners policy exclude without purchasing additional coverage include:
- Wear and tear
- Losses from power outages
- Earth movement
- Damage from lack of maintenance
- Losses resulting from government actions
- Nuclear/radiation hazards
- Extra expenses related to compliance with building codes or laws
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of commonly excluded perils, so you should discuss the coverage you want with your agent and carefully review the policy. Further, you should inquire about purchasing coverage for an additional premium if you are interested in coverage for any of these perils.
How will an insurance company use biographical and background information on my homeowner policy?
Underwriters use a great deal of information to analyze the risk associated with providing coverage. Information you provide will allow the underwriter to determine whether to provide a policy with certain types of coverage based on a designated premium. The insurance company might consider derogatory credit history, such as late payments, write-offs, tax liens and bankruptcies. There are certain types of information the insurer may not consider, such as religion, ethnicity, race, gender, marital status, disability, gender, age or income.
Does my insurance coverage extend to a burst pipe in the plumbing system?
While homeowners insurance typically covers a sudden discharge of water from a burst water pipe in a home’s plumbing, this does not mean that your insurance carrier will not try to avoid paying for water damage. For example, the insurer might contend that the loss was the result of neglect.
Will homeowners coverage pay for the cost of jewelry stolen from my home?
Although your standard homeowners policy will cover jewelry as part of its personal property coverage, standard policies generally provide monetary limits for this type of coverage. If you have jewelry that has substantial value, you might want to purchase additional coverage.
How do I determine the value of my home for purposes of homeowners insurance coverage?
An important consideration to keep in mind is that building costs will tend to rise annually, so you should periodically review such increases to ensure that you have adequate policy limits. Further, building codes and regulations are modified on a regular basis which can significantly impact the amount of coverage you need by driving up the cost to rebuild or repair while complying with new laws and regulations. One mistake to avoid as a homeowner involves purchasing a policy based on the market value of the home. This can result in purchasing an insufficient amount of coverage to pay for the actual cost to rebuild especially if you experience a total loss. If you make enhancements to your home, your coverage might need to be adjusted.
If you have questions about Florida insurance claims, you are welcome to contact one of our Miami insurance claims attorneys. 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.