Jacksonville First Party Storm Damage Lawyer
When you buy homeowner’s insurance, you pay regular premiums to the insurer so that you’re protected in the event of a storm that causes property damage. You may be shocked when the company refuses to pay out your claim, especially when you suspect the reasons for denial are deceptive or dishonest.
Fortunately, Florida law protects homeowners from bad faith insurance tactics. Our Jacksonville first party storm damage lawyers at the Pendas Law Firm can explain the relevant laws and will fight for your rights as a policyholder.
How First Party Storm Damage Claims Work
In a typical homeowner’s insurance party, you stand in the position of a first party and the insurance company is the second party in the relationship. The contract is between you and the insurer directly, so you will file a first party claim if you suffer financial losses from a weather-related event. Your insurance company will pay out the relevant amount to cover your losses upon approval of a lawful, qualifying claim.
The problem is that some insurers don’t uphold their end of the bargain when it comes to first party insurance claims. They may contest the amount, cause of the damage, or other details, so they avoid paying out on the claim. In some situations, the insurance company actions are proper; however, in others, these acts amount to bad faith. Under Florida law and rules of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR), you’re entitled to good faith and fair dealing. Bad faith is illegal and provides you with remedies as a policyholder.
Signs of Bad Faith When Filing First Party Storm Damage Claims
Since not all actions by insurers rise to the level of bad faith, you should discuss your circumstances with a knowledgeable lawyer. However, there are some signs to watch for if you suspect misconduct by your insurance company. Examples include:
- Failing to investigate the storm damage;
- Not making a determination on whether the damage to your home is covered;
- Refusing to pay the proper value after you’ve provided adequate documentation;
- Failing to acknowledge receipt of your claim;
- Not communicating with you about the status throughout the process;
- Handing off your claim to others within the company;
- Failing to respond to your claim within 14 days after you’ve provided notification, as required by law;
- Citing loopholes in your policy to justify non-payment;
- Failing to pay an approved claim within 20 days, as required by law; and,
- Other suspicious acts.
Your Rights as a First Party Claimant
You can file a complaint with FOIR regarding insurance bad faith in a first party storm damage claim, but the law also allows you to seek civil remedies to recover for your damages. In general, you must prove that insurance benefits were withheld by the insurance company, and that the insurer’s reasons for doing so were unlawful.
Consult with a Jacksonville First Party Storm Damage Lawyer
Insurance companies are bound by Florida law when it comes to paying out rightful claims, so you do have rights if your interests were affected by bad faith. To learn more about your legal options and remedies, please contact the Pendas Law Firm. We can schedule a consultation to review your situation and take appropriate action.