Twelve Important Insurance Questions for Florida Homeowners [Part I]

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

Many people view homeowners insurance as an “out of sight, out of mind” type of purchase.  After all, homeowners insurance is a product purchase which you hope you never need to use by filing a claim.  However, people throughout Florida file claims with their insurance company each year following a wide array of types of damage caused by a broad spectrum of perils.  Because homeowners insurance protects such a valuable asset, we have provided answers to twelve important questions for Florida homeowners insurance policyholders.

What exactly is homeowners coverage?

A homeowners insurance policy protects against losses to one’s home and contents inside the home caused by a covered peril, as well as lawsuits against the policyholder.  Homeowners coverage does not apply to every potential source of damage.  Perils covered by a standard homeowner policy in Florida include wind, theft, vandalism, fire, hail and lightning. Policyholders are also protected against lawsuits brought against homeowners for damage to a third parties person or property.  Policies generally cover the dwelling, other buildings on the premises, medical payments, loss of use, contents of the home and liability claims.

Does my homeowners coverage protect my rare stamp collection or valuable piece of jewelry?

Generally, coverage for personal property with a specific value must be covered by a Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) endorsement.  This type of coverage increases the coverage available for scheduled items with a specific value.  These items will generally qualify for all-risk coverage with a few exclusions.  Examples of items that policyholders typically cover with this endorsement include cameras, outboard motor boats, furs, rare art, firearms and other collectables.

What amount of coverage should I purchase?

This is a question that you should discuss with a representative of your insurance company.  However, the coverage you purchase will cover the structure and contents of the home.  The land the property sits on generally will not be covered, so will need to take this into account.  In other words, you might want to purchase enough coverage to replace the physical structure and your personal property, but there is no reason to purchase coverage for the value of the plot your home sits on.

How long do I need to allow for my homeowners insurance to begin processing my claim?

The amount of time it takes to resolve an insurance claim will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of your situation.  However, the insurance company typically will contact you within a couple of days of receiving notice of the claim.  The insurance company should also arrange to have an adjuster inspect the home within a fairly short time period.

Do I need insurance for my home during the construction process if I am having a home built?

Homeowners should at least consider this option because a fire or other serious catastrophe while you are building your home can result in significant financial loss.  There is no reason that perils covered by your insurance are limited only to when the structure is completed.

If your residence is damaged by fire, windstorm or theft, your homeowners insurance carrier has a legal obligation to treat you fairly in adjusting and paying your claim.  Homeowners who are forced to endure unjustified delays, denials or lowball offers might have a right to bring a claim for breach of contract and/or insurance bad faith.  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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