When you buy insurance, whether for your car, home, boat, or any other valuable asset, you expect one primary benefit – if you have damage your insurance policy will cover it. But recent proposals by Florida’s homeowner property insurance companies will significantly alter, or in some cases, eliminate the coverage you receive for your property insurance claim.
Some of the proposed changes are:
- Emergency Services – Emergency service companies provide assistance at your home, condo or business immediately after the damage has occurred. These services include removing standing water from your property, drying out the drywall, or maybe tarping your roof in the event of a leak. Some new homeowner policies will not limit coverage for emergency services to only $3,000, unless the insurance company “approves” more work to be done. This limit will usually not cover the full amount of emergency services which can easily reach $10,000 in a significant loss.
- Is your home more than 40 years old? Water damage at your property will not be covered unless you buy an option for $10,000 in coverage. This means that water damage through your roof or walls, A/C leaks, plumbing breaks, or water leaks from your home’s appliances will not be covered at all, or will be limited to $10,000 in coverage. This coverage hardly seems adequate when a pipe bursting in your house can easily cause more than $50,000 in repairs at your house. Some of the major homeowner insurance companies in Florida such as People’s Trust, Federated National, Tower Hill, Heritage, United Property & Casualty and Southern Oak will all include this provision in their new policies. Keep in mind, your annual policy premium is probably more than $3,000 for a policy that will only pay you $10,000. Sound like a good deal?
- Want to have repairs done at your property by the person you choose? Your policy may not allow that either. Most Florida property insurance companies are now including a requirement, or in some cases, a discount if you allow the insurance company to make the repairs at your house. People’s Trust has even started a separate company, the “Rapid Response Team” to perform the repairs. Property owners lose the right under this type of policy to control when and how the repairs are done to your house or condo, and more importantly, to determine whether they are done correctly.
These changes were proposed to Florida’s Department of Insurance, and have already
been approved. Keep in mind, the Department of Insurance is supposed to be the insurance “watchdog” for the residents of Florida. The justification given for the unreasonable policy limitations is that Florida homeowner property damage lawsuit have risen in the past few years. Given that these insurance companies continue to reduce coverage provided in their policies, yet continue to charge property owners thousands of dollars per year for this limited coverage, maybe the insurance companies should focus on providing better service and coverage rather than less than less.
For more information, contact attorney Joseph Maus at 954.784.6310 or www.mauslawfirm.com.