Property Damage Claims: What to Know, What to Do and What to Expect
Q. What is covered under my policy?
A. Generally, the entire physical structure of your house is covered under your homeowners’ policy. The physical structure of your house is protected against any damage unless specifically excluded. Damage from rising waters and street flooding is generally not covered (unless you have a separate Flood Policy). What most people do not know is that personal property is also most likely covered, as well as additional living expenses when having to move out of your home due to the damage incurred. There are many other valuable and often misunderstood provisions in your policy that provide additional coverage when you incur damage to your property
Q. What can I claim under my policy?
A. Benefits vary by policy and very often by industry. For example, hotels and health care organizations often have special provisions in their policies for pandemics. Here are some of the losses you can claim. Working with your business advisors, the attorneys at Insurance Litigation Group may find others:
- Lost business income
- Employee salaries
- Lease payments or, if a property owner, lost rental income
- Loan payments
- Expenses of operating from a temporary location and advertising announcing the move location.
- Inventory losses
- Supplier payments
- Taxes and utilities
Q. What measures should I take after my property has been damaged?
A. The first thing you should do is take an inventory of your home. Make a list of any damage to your house and personal property. Note which parts of your property were damaged. Do the same for your valuables, for example, electronics, vehicles, major appliances, and furniture. Taking pictures or video is a great idea. Having a visual record will help your claim. If you are able to locate receipts for any of these items, do so at this time. Also keep all receipts for any extra living expenses incurred. Or any emergency repairs made.
DO NOT DISCARD ANY DAMAGED PORTION OF THE HOUSE BEFORE THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS HAD A CHANCE TO INSPECT IT.
Q. Do I have a Deductible and how does that work?
A. In the State of Florida most if not all homeowner’s insurance policies will have some sort of deducible. The deductible is a dollar amount that you are responsible to pay before the insurance company will pay you anything on your claim. For example, if your home suffers roof damage in the amount of $25,000.00 and your policy has a $3,000.00 deductible; then your insurance carrier should pay you $22,000.00.
Hurricane deductibles are a percentage of the total policy Coverage “A” limit. This coverage “A” number is generally found on your Insurance Policy Declaration Page (Dec Page). Example: If your Coverage “A” Limit is $200,000 and your Deductible Percentage is 2%, your deductible Amount: $4,000 (out of pocket expense on the claim).
Q. What is a Retainer Packet?
A. The retainer packet is a document that outlines the fees and cost (if any) of the services ILG will provide in the scope of our representation. To expedite your claim. this Packet also gives us the authorization to contact your insurance company and mortgage company (if applicable), on your behalf, regarding your claim on your behalf.
Q. Who determines the “value” of my property damage claim?
A. The Property Claim Team at ILG, will prepare its own independent estimate and submit that estimate to your insurance company. Your insurance company will also send someone out to do their own estimate of the loss. If the amounts or items on both estimates are not the same, then an attempt will be made to resolve the estimation of the damage without legal action. Most disputes in the insurance context are over the value of the property damage. Therefore, it is imperative to have a team like ILG advocate and fight for your rights! The insurance companies have experts and attorneys on their side – you should too!
Q. How long of a wait before the insurance company acknowledges my damage claim?
A. Under Florida law, the insurance carriers must acknowledge and act upon communications with respect to claims within 14 calendar days. They must begin their investigation within 10 working days of receipt of proof of loss statements and they must provide a written statement confirming that the claim is being investigated and must affirm or deny coverage within 30 days after receiving proof of loss. The claim — or undisputed portion of the claim — must be paid within 90 days.
After a hurricane or other natural disaster, based on our experience with Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma; Irma & Michael, it took many months to years for many property owners to receive payouts. Partly because there were too few adjusters with the needed expertise and the insurance companies were simply not prepared to handle the volume of claims. At the Insurance Litigation Group, our goal is it keeps the pressure on the insurance company to send an adjuster as soon as possible so that a determination can be made regarding your damage.
Q. What do I do if the insurance company gives me a low-ball offer?
In a perfect world, your insurance company will make a fair offer. But often, this simply is not the case. If you feel you are being low-balled or mistreated by your insurance company, the Property Claim Attorneys at ILG will negotiate for a more favorable settlement, and when necessary, file a lawsuit against the insurance company on your behalf to pressure the insurance company to increase the settlement amount that you are owed.
Q. What happens if the insurance company denies or partially denies my damage claim?
A. If your claim is denied or even partially denied, we will investigate the reason for denial. If our experienced and aggressive Property Claim Attorneys discover that the insurance company wrongfully denied or underpaid your claim, our attorneys will advocate forcibly on your behalf and litigate as necessary, all the way through trial, to see that you get the benefits you are entitled to.
Q. What happens if the insurance company only wants to pay me for portion of my claim? Do I have other recourse against the insurance company?
A. If your claim is underpaid or partially paid, our aggressive and experienced attorneys will fight on your behalf to get you paid what the insurance company really owes you.
Q. What if the insurance company does not give me enough money to cover my damage?
A. If the check the insurance company issues is insufficient and your claim is underpaid, do not sign the insurance companies Release. The ILG team will determine if there are outstanding items or supplemental claims to be filed & will continue to fight on your behalf in an effort to get you paid what the insurance company really owes you.
Q. Should I Sign a Release?
A. NO! Once you sign your release, you waive any and all future payments from the insurance company, regardless of what would have been covered, because you are signing a release. So, you should never sign a release on a homeowners’ insurance claim, unless you have an attorney first review and approve the Release. The Property Claims attorneys at Insurance Litigation Group are very familiar at looking at Homeowners insurance policies and payments and releases. We’ll be able to review it with you and let you know that this is something you should sign, or if it is not in your best interest and if you should litigate the issue.
Q. Is hiring The Insurance Litigation Group necessary?
A. YES!!! The insurance company has their experts & attorneys. You, too, should be represented by experienced Property Claim Attorneys from the Insurance Litigation Group. Our diverse multi-lingual team consisting of attorneys, loss assessment specialists, paralegals, legal assistants, Client Satisfaction Champions as well as former public adjusters, have all the legal means and tools at their disposal to pressure the insurance company, including engaging in litigation and going to trial, as necessary. Public adjusters are fully aware of what they can and cannot do, and when they are unable to achieve what they know to be a full and fair resolution, they will refer the insurance claim to us. Our experienced litigation team does not take “no” for an answer. We have recovered millions for our clients. Let us help you recover what you are owed under your policy.
With one call to ILG, you will receive a no-charge policy and claim review and inspection of your damage. Do not worry! Our experienced property claims attorneys are on your side throughout the entire process, committed to giving you the peace of mind you deserve.
What Our Clients Say
“We were so tired of non-returned phone calls from our insurance company. Their claim to having sent payment when they hadn’t was ridiculous. We had spent 6 months trying to resolve with no luck. We called Insurance Litigation Group and they resolved our claim simply and professionally.”
“Thank you for your swift attention to my case. Everything ran smoothly. They gave me multiple options and always answered the phone!”
“Excellent law firm if you are having trouble getting your Florida homeowners insurance company to pay your hurricane claim fairly. They have an excellent reputation in the panhandle and throughout Florida.”
“Best law firm to deal with Hurricane Michael home insurance disputes. They understand how to maximize your insurance payout when dealing with insurance adjusters and claims departments. Highly recommend.”
“We hired ILG when our public adjuster could push no further with our insurance company to get our claim settled after Hurricane Michael and he advised us to file a lawsuit. We recently settled and received our final payment checks a couple of days ago. My husband and I are very pleased with the results. ILG did a great job for us. Thank God for people like this to help homeowners when insurance companies don’t want to pay out after a disaster! I highly recommend ILG.”
“I was very happy with the time and work that ILGpa did for me. Without their help I would not have the positive results that I received. Thank you so much for your help. I would recommend this group to anyone.”
We are a client-focused law firm that fights aggressively on behalf of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, to produce maximum recovery results from insurance companies through our unique expertise, deep understanding of insurance law, cutting edge technology and proactive approach to litigation.
Insurance Litigation Group serves clients across the state of Florida. With over 7 offices statewide, our attorneys have the knowledge, skills and experience to resolve your dispute against the insurance company.
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Contact us today about your situation so we can fight to get you paid. We can assist you in any coverage dispute, disagreement over liability or damages, or related matter.