Florida Homeowners Insurance Claims: Replacement vs. Repair

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

If you experience property damage to your home caused by a sinkhole, vandalism, fire or a hurricane, you might notice warning signs that your homeowner's insurance carrier is not going to treat you fairly.  One such red flag is early indication by the insurance adjuster that the company will repair the damage rather than replace the damage items.  You should not blindfully trust your insurance company if you are told early on in the claim that replacement is not the appropriate resolution for your claim.

If an insured’s home is damaged by a natural disaster, criminal act, or other peril within the scope of coverage under a homeowner's policy, the policyholder should carefully review the language of the policy to determine if the policy covers replacement cost of the entire damaged property.  Because insurance companies can increase their profit margin by only paying for limited repairs if the cost of replacement exceeds the cost of repair, your insurer might coax you to accept such half-measures.

An example of an insurance company only offering to perform repairs when replacement is more appropriate might involve damage to siding panels following a hurricane.  The insurer might indicate that the damage can be addressed by repairing the damaged panels rather than replacing all siding panels.  The new siding panels might not match the original panels, so the home’s appearance is adversely impacted by the color mismatch.  This lack of uniform color can adversely affect the value of an insured’s home, so the decision of the insurance company not to replace all of the siding does not fully compensate the homeowner for his or her loss.

After reviewing your policy and determining that you paid for replacement cost coverage, you might need to negotiate with your insurance company to obtain replacement rather than repair.  If you are uncertain whether insisting on replacement cost is appropriate or your insurance company is giving you the runaround, you should talk to an experienced insurance coverage lawyer.  An attorney will recognize the appropriate evidence and arguments to support replacement as opposed to repair cost.

Although many people attempt to represent their own interests, policyholders have valuable rights under the terms of an insurance policy.  Despite the fact that insurance companies generally owe a fiduciary duty to their policyholders, you should not rely on your insurance company to explain your rights under a policy when you make a claim.  The insurance company’s financial interests are directly in conflict with your own when you file a claim against your homeowner's policy.

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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