Why Inaccurate Information on Your Insurance Application Can Have Devastating Consequences

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

When you fill out an insurance application, minor inaccuracies or omissions can have negative consequences if you need to make a clam for a loss.  This blog previously has addressed a number of issues related to mistakes on insurance policy applications.  It might be predictable that undisclosed claims or other information that affects the risk involved in issuing a policy can impact a policyholder’s ability to obtain benefits under a policy.  Sometimes omissions or mistakes unrelated to the level of risk can harm a policyholder, such as the omission of an individual’s apartment number when providing the policyholder’s address.

The Florida Third District Court of Appeal in Rodriguez v. Security National Insurance Co., Inc. provides an example of the potential impact of this form of minor omission on a policy application.  Under Florida law, insurance companies are subject to strict requirements regarding providing notice to an insured prior to cancellation of a policy.  Even if a pending cancellation is linked to non-payment of premiums, the insurer must comply with Florida statutes mandating notice and an opportunity to cure the deficiency.

 In Rodriguez, the estate of a man who died in a motorcycle accident pursued a claim under the policy of the at-fault driver.  The insurer denied the insurance claim based on non-coverage because the policy had been cancelled for non-payment of premiums.  Rodriquez contended that the insurer should not be permitted to assert a defense based on cancellation of the policy because the insurer failed to properly comply with its statutory duty to provide adequate notice of cancellation.  The insured pointed out that notices were sent prior to and after cancellation but to the wrong address because the envelope did not indicate an apartment number.  The trial court ruled in favor of the insurance company.

On appeal, the court noted the obligation of the insurer to provide notice under Fla. Stat. 627.728.  While the notices were sent to the wrong address, the court noted that the insured failed to put the apartment number on the policy application.  Because the insured failed to accurately complete the initial application, the insurer’s notice was not defective.  The insurer had the right to rely on the address provided by the insured on the application according to the court.

In short, the failure of the insured to place his apartment number on the application resulted in the policyholder’s not having insurance coverage.  This case demonstrates that even minor inaccuracies on an insurance application can have devastating consequences.  When completing an application for insurance, it is important to be careful that the information is as accurate as possible.  Double checking your responses can prevent problems when you submit a claim under your policy.

If you have questions about Florida insurance claims, you are welcome to contact my Florida insurance claims dispute law firm.  My insurance claims 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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