Hurricane Ian caused widespread and catastrophic damage to homes and businesses, and many property owners are finding that their insurance claims are being underpaid. This can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience, especially for those who are already dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster. While the insurance companies are getting great return on investment for their recent lobbying efforts in Tallahassee, many Florida homeowners are seeing their claims vastly underpaid.
HOW CAN MY CLAIM BE UNDERPAID?
One of the main reasons why insurance claims are underpaid is because insurance companies often try to settle claims for as little as possible. They may use various tactics to reduce the amount they pay out, such as denying coverage for certain types of damage or arguing that the damage was caused by something other than the hurricane.
It is not uncommon after Hurricanes that cause massive storm surge like Hurricane Ian did that Homeowners Insurance Companies will try to blame a large percentage of damage on storm surge or flood waters. This is intentional because most homeowners insurance polices do not cover damages caused by surface water/flood/storm surge.
Another reason why insurance claims are often underpaid is because policyholders may not fully understand the terms of their insurance policy. Many policies have specific language and exclusions that can be difficult to interpret, and policyholders may not be aware of all the coverage they are entitled to.
Additionally, insurance companies may also use contractors and adjusters who are not independent and may have an interest in undervaluing the damage. This can lead to an unfair estimate of the cost of repairs, which in turn leads to a lower settlement offer.
WHEN CAN I DO SOMETHING ABOUT MY CLAIM?
The insurance company may take a long time to process the claim, which can be frustrating for homeowners who are eager to start rebuilding. This delay can also lead to additional costs, such as temporary housing expenses, which may not be covered by the insurance policy.
In Florida, generally Homeowners Insurance Companies have 90 days to adjust a claim. If they do not abide by this time frame then Florida law default the coverage decision to a denial.
Homeowners cannot file a lawsuit until after they submit a Notice of Intent to Litigate under 627.70152 and give the carriers 10 business days to respond.
HOW CAN I GET HELP WITH MY UNDERPAYMENT?
This is a frustrating and confusing process. That’s why it is important to work with an attorney who can help you understand the terms of your policy and ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to. An attorney can also help you to gather the necessary documentation for your claim, negotiate with your insurance company, and represent you in a dispute resolution process or in court if necessary.
In conclusion, Hurricane Ian caused widespread damage to many homes and businesses, and insurance claims are being underpaid due to various reasons, from insurance companies trying to settle for as little as possible to policyholders not fully understanding the terms of their insurance policy. It is important to work with an attorney who can help you understand the terms of your policy, ensure that you receive the full compensation you are entitled to and represent you in a dispute resolution process if necessary.
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