Proof of Loss: A Lesson in What to Avoid When Seeking Payment of a Homeowners Insurance Claim

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

When your home is damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, fire, or other hazard, you will typically rely on your homeowner’s insurance to cover the loss.  However, insurance companies are adept at offering justifications for delaying or denying coverage or underpaying claims.  This means that policyholders need to have a clear grasp of the terms, exclusions, limitations, conditions, and restrictions imposed by their policy. 

Generally, homeowners policies will include a requirement that an insured provide immediate, timely, or prompt notice of loss.  In addition, the insured may be required to provide a sworn proof of loss within a designated period.  Typically, a Florida homeowner will need to provide a sworn proof of loss within sixty days of the loss or within 60 days from the request of the insurance company, depending on policy language.  A recent Florida 17th Circuit Court opinion, Hunt vs. State Farm, provides an example of critical mistakes homeowners seeking coverage should avoid when it comes to providing notice of a loss.

The Hunts’ home was damaged by Hurricane Wilma, but they did not notify State Farm of the loss until almost five years later.  The policyholders finally provided notice days before filing suit for breach of contract.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm because the Hunts failed to submit a timely proof of loss as required by their policy.  The appellate court began its analysis by indicating that it is well settled in Florida that providing a sworn proof of loss as indicated in a policy is a condition precedent to coverage.  This means that the obligation to pay the claim never arises until the proof of loss is submitted to the insurance carrier.

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

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