Reopening Insurance Claims
In most instances the answer is yes. Many insurance companies will send a check for repairs without having the insured sign a release. The reason for this is similar to car accident property damage – you don’t really know the extent of damage to your car or house until you start to take it apart to repair it.
The statute of limitations in Florida for a breach of contract claim is five years. This means that you can bring a claim for property damage to your home or business under your insurance policy as long as the lawsuit has been filed within five years from the date of loss. Most insurance policies require notice of the loss “promptly”, or within a certain period of time. But the notice requirement is triggered only when you become aware of the damage, or the full extent of the damage.
In the section about mediation and appraisal above, we recommend hiring the best property damage attorney before going to either mediation or appraisal. The reason for this is if you attend either of take part in either of those procedures, and agree to resolve your claim, you will most likely be asked to sign a release of your claim, giving up any right to reopen your claim in the future if you find additional damage.
Another reason to retain the best homeowner insurance attorney you can find is to make sure that your entire claim is considered by the insurance company. The difficulty is that it may take several months before the full extent of damage to your house or business is determined. When walls get wet, you can guess that mold will start to form, but you won’t know for sure until you open the wall, or until it shows through the paint or wallpaper on the wall.