Frequently Asked Questions
Insurance is a complex subject, and many policyholders facing difficulty with a claim have a great deal many questions. At Germain Law Group, P.A., we aim to help people in Florida understand their policies, as well as advocate for them to recover the benefits they deserve. If you are in Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Sun City Center, Plant City, Hunters Green, Temple Terrace, Sweetwater Creek, or any surrounding areas and have any questions about your insurance policy, call Tampa insurance lawyer Michael B. Germain at Germain Law Group, P.A. or submit an online form to schedule a confidential consultation.
Questions About Insurance Law
- What Does My Insurance Policy Cover?
- What Should I Do To Make a Claim?
- What Can I Do If My Insurance Company Offers an Amount Below the Value of the Damage?
- What Do I Do If My Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
- What is Actual Cash Value, and What is Replacement Value?
- How Much Do an Insurance Lawyer’s Services Cost?
What Does My Insurance Policy Cover?
Coverage depends on the type of insurance policy what kind of risk it is intended to protect you against. There are many different types of risks that may be covered by insurance.
Property risk means that the policy covers damage that occurs to your property. You may have property risk insurance on your home, building or motor vehicle.
Liability risk covers the insured in the event that he or she is sued or is in the position to be sued. A person is required to carry liability insurance for their automobile, and most businesses that have customers and clients frequently walking in and out have liability insurance. Homeowners policies may also have general liability policies.
Other policies, like life insurance, health insurance, and title insurance, cover different kinds of risk and loss.
The policy may have certain exclusions. Those exclusions must be clearly spelled out. Certain policies are required by law to cover certain risks. For example, a residential property insurance policy is required to cover hurricane damage in Florida, unless the property is in a windpool area or the policyholder signs a handwritten statement rejecting the coverage.
What Should I Do To Make a Claim?
Every insurance policy has a different procedure for making a claim. If you wish to make a claim, contact your insurance company. However, be cautious that anything you say could be used to deny your claim or make an offer lower than your actual damages. An attorney can assist you in making your claim.
What Can I Do If My Insurance Company Offers an Amount Below the Value of the Damage?
An insurance company is a business, which means they look out for their bottom line. Their goal in every situation is to make decisions that are most cost-effective for them. Unfortunately, this often means offering you the lowest settlement they can get away with. This might involve undervaluing the property damaged, using cheaper estimates for repairs or saying your actions contributed to the damage.
It is important to realize the amount they offer is just that — an offer. You do not have to accept it. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf for a settlement that more accurately represents your loss. If they do not offer a satisfactory amount, your attorney can take them to court.
What Do I Do If My Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
The most common reason your insurance company would deny a claim is because they say that the cause of the damage is not covered by the policy. They may say it falls within an exclusion.
The insurance company will interpret your policy in a way most favorable to them. They will interpret exclusions broadly and the perils your policy covers more narrowly.
You do not have to accept a loss if your insurance claim is denied. Your lawyer can contact the insurance company and demand for them to pay, and negotiate a sufficient settlement. If they refuse, he can take them to court.
What is Actual Cash Value, and What is Replacement Value?
“Actual cash value (ACV)” means the value of the insured property at the time of loss. “Replacement value” means the cost to replace the property, so that you are made whole.
ACV takes into account depreciation, so it may be considerably less than the cost to replace your property. Whether you will get actual cash value or replacement value will depend on your policy, but some policies leave this open to interpretation. The insurance company will interpret it in a way favorable to them.
How Much Do an Insurance Lawyer’s Services Cost?
Each situation will be different. However, at the Germain Law Group, we will discuss your situation, and you will be apprised with an estimate of the costs before you make any decisions.
Under Florida Statute § 627.428, an insurance beneficiary who wins a judgment against his or her insurance company has a right to reasonable attorney’s fees.
Germain Law Group, P.A. ǀ Hillsborough County Insurance Lawyer
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident, natural disaster, or any other loss can be a stressful and confusing ordeal. It is important to consult an experienced insurance attorney during this process. Attorney Michael Germain of Germain Law Group, P.A. has years of experience in all areas of insurance law, including property damage claims, bad faith insurance claims, automobile insurance, property insurance, policyholder rights, and more.
Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. at (813) 835-8888 or submit an online form for a confidential review of your case. Germain Law Group, P.A. proudly serves clients throughout Central Florida, including Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, Polk, and Pinellas Counties.