Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Homeowners’ Insurance Law
Florida insurance law is complex. But understanding your rights and responsibilities as a Florida homeowner is extremely important. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about Florida homeowners’ insurance law.
Q: Will my insurance company reimburse me for the actual value of my property before the damage occurred?
A: No. Florida law distinguishes between the actual pre-damage value of your home and the replacement cost, which means the cost of making repairs. Specifically, an insurer must offer “a policy or endorsement providing that any loss that is repaired or replaced will be adjusted on the basis of replacement costs to the dwelling not exceeding policy limits, rather than actual cash value.”
Q: What happens if my entire home is destroyed?
A: Under the state’s valued policy law, “in the event of the total loss of any building, structure, mobile home” or manufactured building, the insurer’s liability will be “in the amount of money for which such property was so insured as specified in the policy and for which a premium has been charged and paid.” For example, if your home was insured for $100,000 then that is the insurer’s liability. This law only applies to total losses caused by a covered peril. So if your policy does not cover flood damage and flooding was the cause of your total loss, then your insurer will not be liable.
Q: When does my insurer have to pay me after settling a claim?
A: Once an insurer and homeowner have settled a claim in writing, the insurer has 20 days to tender payment.
Q: Does my insurance company have to explain why it denied my claim?
A: Yes. The insurer must explain in the denial letter the reason(s) it denied the homeowner’s claim. You also have the opportunity to appeal any claim denials.
Q: When must my insurance company respond to my claim?
A: Florida law gives insurers 14 days to respond after receiving an insurance claim. That response will acknowledge that the claim was received. The insurer then has 90 days (from the date it receives the initial claim) to pay or deny the claim.
Q: When can I file a lawsuit against my insurance company?
A: There are many situations in which you might need to sue your insurer. For example, if your insurance company does not attempt in good faith to settle your insurance claim “when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly,” then you might have a viable lawsuit. Other insurer actions that may give rise to legal action include failure to explain the coverage under which a claim payment is made and failure to promptly settle a claim “when the obligation to settle a claim has become reasonably clear.”
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
Contact a Tampa insurance attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are involved in an insurance claim dispute. We will guide you through the claims process and help you recover for your losses.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.