Our Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Law Firm Can Help You Deal With Insurance Company Denials
When your insurance company denies coverage for a property damage claim, your costs can begin to add up quickly. Whether you are a homeowner and you have been forced to relocate while waiting for your insurance company to authorize repairs, or you own a business and you have been forced to limit your operations or shut down entirely, property damage claim denials can lead to substantial losses. In order to recover these losses and secure the coverage to which you are entitled, it is important that you hire a Fort Lauderdale property damage law firm promptly.
4 Common Reasons Why Insurance Companies Dispute and Deny Property Damage Claims
Insurance claim denials can broadly fall into two categories: good faith and bad faith. Good faith denials are those which are based on legitimate justifications, while bad faith denials are those which violate policyholders’ rights under the terms of their policies or Florida law.
Importantly, the fact that an insurance company denies a property damage claim in good faith does not necessarily mean that the claim isn’t covered. In fact, homeowners and business owners frequently secure coverage after receiving an initial good faith denial. Here are four examples of scenarios that our Fort Lauderdale property damage law firm frequently handles:
- Nonpayment of Premiums – If you stopped paying your insurance premiums, then your insurance company might be justified in denying coverage for your property damage claim. However, it is still very possible that your claim is covered. For example, if the damage occurred before you stopped paying, then you should generally still be entitled to coverage. There are also rules around when an insurance company can deny coverage for non-payment of premiums and what an insurance company must do before cancelling a policy.
- Coverage Exclusions – All homeowners’ insurance policies and commercial property insurance policies contain coverage exclusions. One major exclusion that is particularly relevant here in Florida is flood damage. In many cases, an insurance company will initially deny coverage based on an exclusion, but then it will be possible to show that the exclusion does not apply.
- Inadequate Proof of Damage – While insurance companies have an obligation to investigate their policyholders’ claims, policyholders must still take the initiative to prove that they are entitled to coverage, and there are various pieces of information that insurance companies cannot collect on their own. Oftentimes, overcoming a coverage denial for a property damage claim will be a matter of providing sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the claim is covered.
- Policyholder Non–Disclosure – Insurance fraud is a pervasive issue, and the insurance companies are well within their rights to deny coverage to policyholders who obtained coverage based on fraudulent misrepresentations or omissions. However, denials based on policyholder non-disclosure are often based on misunderstandings, and correcting these misunderstandings can lead to the reversal of a coverage denial.
Bad-Faith Insurance Claim Denials
In addition to these potentially-valid reasons for denying homeowners’ and business owners’ property damage claims, insurance companies will often issue bad-faith denials as well. If your insurance company denies your property damage claim in bad faith, you may be entitled to additional compensation above and beyond the amount of coverage included under your policy. Examples of bad-faith insurance practices include:
Misrepresenting the Terms of Coverage:
Misrepresenting the consequences of failure to pay premiums, misrepresenting your policy limits or policy exclusions, and making other representations about the terms of coverage are all common examples of bad-faith insurance practices.
Failing to Conduct a Timely Investigation:
Once you file a property damage claim, your insurance company is required to conduct a timely investigation in order to gather the evidence needed to make a decision regarding coverage. If you cannot get your insurance company to send an adjuster, you may have a claim for bad-faith compensation.
Failing to Issue a Timely Decision Regarding Coverage:
Likewise, once your insurance company investigates your claim, it is legally required to make a timely decision regarding coverage. Unnecessary delays are often indicative of insurance bad faith.
Refusing to Consider Verified Facts:
In some cases, property damage insurance companies will ignore clear facts that support insureds’ coverage claims. Similar to unnecessary delays, refusing to consider verified facts is a common bad-faith insurance tactic.
Making Low-Ball Settlement Offers:
While property damage insurance companies are entitled to negotiate in good faith, they cannot legally attempt to take advantage of their policyholders with low-ball settlement offers. If your insurance company’s offer is nowhere near the amount you are owed, you may have a claim for insurance bad faith.
How Long Do You Have to Sue Your Insurance Company for a Wrongful Property Damage Denial?
The amount of time you have to sue your insurance company in Florida depends on why you need to sue. While homeowners have up to five years in some cases, there are also shorter statutes of limitations for certain types of claims.
As a result, in addition to ensuring that you can get your home repaired as quickly as possible, consulting with a Fort Lauderdale homeowner’s insurance lawyer promptly will also help ensure that you preserve your legal rights. When dealing with a difficult homeowner’s insurance claim, you can suddenly find that you have spent months of your life just struggling to secure coverage, and you need to make sure that your efforts are not in vain.
Discuss Your Insurance Claim Denial With a Lawyer at Our Fort Lauderdale Property Damage Law Firm
Has your insurance company denied coverage for damage to your home, office or other property? To speak with an attorney our Fort Lauderdale property damage law firm, call 855-999-5297 or request a free consultation online today.