Individuals and businesses purchase insurance to protect their financial interests in the event of loss or damage to property. Most policyholders rely on compensation from insurance policies to repair damage or recoup any related financial loss.
As a result, Florida legislators heavily regulate insurance industry. Legislators understand that consumers expect honesty and fair dealing from their insurance company. Florida law grants policyholders certain rights, including the right to coverage, right to good faith, right to cancel, and the right to an attorney.
Tampa Lawyer for Policyholders Rights
Michael Germain of Germain Law Group, P.A. fights to protect the rights of policyholders who are making a claim on an insurance policy or experience difficulty when purchasing a claim. He has years of experience representing individuals in all insurance matters, including personal property insurance, general liability insurance, automobile insurance, life insurance, commercial insurance, and renter’s insurance.
Based in Tampa, Florida, the Germain Law Group, P.A. strongly advocates for policyholders throughout Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, Hunters Green, Sun City Center, Sweetwater Creek, Bay Crest Park, and surrounding communities.
Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. at (813) 835-8888 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential, no obligation consultation. During your consultation, the attorneys at Germain Law Group, P.A. will thoroughly explain your rights and any legal remedies available.
Florida Policyholders Rights Information Center
- Florida Policyholders Bill of Rights
- Right to Coverage
- Right to Good Faith
- Right to Cancel
- Florida Policyholder Rights Resources
Policyholders Bill of Rights
Florida Statute Title 27 Chapter 626.9641 outlines the Policyholders’ Bill of Rights. Florida legislators created the Bill of Rights to serve as standards to be followed by insurance companies, representatives, and administrative bodies.
Under the Policyholders’ Bill of Rights, each policyholder has the legal right to the following:
- Right to competitive price practices and marketing methods that enable them to determine the best value among comparable policies
- Right to obtain comprehensive coverage
- Right to insurance advertising and other selling approaches that provide accurate and balanced information on the benefits and limitations of a policy
- Right to an insurance company that is financially stable
- Right to be serviced by a competent, honest insurance agent or broker
- Right to a readable policy
- Right to an insurance company that provides an economic delivery of coverage and tries to prevent losses
- Right to a balanced and positive regulation by the department, commission, and office
Right to Coverage
Under Florida law, all residential insurance policies must provide coverage for windstorm or hurricane damage, expect in certain Florida coastal areas called “wind pool areas”. Policyholders in wind pool areas must obtain separate coverage from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
Should an insurer exclude windstorm or hurricane coverage from an insurance policy, the insurer must put this exclusion in writing. According to Florida Statute Title 37 Chapter 627.712 the policyholder must write the following statement in his or her own handwriting:
I do not want the insurance on my (home/mobile home/condominium unit) to pay for damage from windstorms. I will pay those costs. My insurance will not.
The handwritten statement must be signed by every other insured on the policy.
Similarly, an insurance policy must cover the contents of the property. However, a residential property owner may request the insurance policy exclude the contents of the property. This option is available to homeowners or mobile homeowners only. This option is not available to renters or condominium owners.
Like the aforementioned handwritten statement, a residential property owner must explicitly in handwriting express that the contents of the property will not be included in the policy and the policyholder must acknowledge he or she will pay the costs.
Additional Coverage on Residential Property
There are always two deductibles on residential property insurance policies: A hurricane deductible and an “all-other-perils” deductible (Florida Statute § 627.701).
Consumers have a right to a clear and unambiguous provision for their hurricane deductible. Insurers are required to notify the consumer of all hurricane deductible options, and offer a deductible amount applicable to losses equal to $500 or 2, 5, or 10 percent of the policy dwelling limits, with the following exceptions:
- For policies with dwelling limits between $100,000 and $250,000, the insurer is not required to offer a $500 deductible if a policy with a 2 percent deductible that will not renew; or
- A policy for more than $250,000 is not required to have a $500 deductible.
Some other rights for coverage, include the following:
- The right to a policy that covers adjustment of loss on a replacement cost value (Florida Statute § 627.701)
- The right to law and ordinance coverage (Florida Statute Title 37 Chapter 627.7011)
- The right to an outline of all coverage, with exclusions, renewal and cancellation provisions, credit or surcharge plan and any riders (Florida Statute Title 37 Chapter 627.4143)
Right to Good Faith
When a consumer makes a claim, he or she has the right to be treated fairly and honestly or with good faith. Under Florida Statute Title 37 Chapter 626.9541, it is in bad faith or unfair or deceptive to engage in the following:
- Deny a claim without reasonable investigation;
- Fail to adopt and implement standards for an investigation;
- Fail to acknowledge and act promptly when a claim is made;
- Make a material misrepresentation of fact to settle a claim on less favorable terms;
- Make a misrepresentation about the policy;
- Fail to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of the claim; and
- Fail to pay any undisputed amount within 90 days.
Right to Cancel
A policyholder has the right to cancel property insurance policy at any time. The policyholder may cancel the policy for any reason or no reason at all. Upon cancellation, the insurance company may retain up to 10 percent of the premium they did not earn.
After a residential policy has been in place for 90 days or 3 months, the insurance company has no right to cancel the policy except in the following circumstances:
- Insured person made a material representation on the application;
- Insured person failed to pay a premium;
- Insured person failed to comply with the underwriting requirements; or
- There is a substantial change in risk.
While the insurance company cannot cancel for any reason, the insurance company may opt to not renew the policy for any valid reason, including too many claims were made on the policy.
Florida Policyholders Rights Resources
Florida Policyholders’ Bill of Rights ǀ Florida Department of Finance– Read the full text of the Florida Policyholders’ Bill of Rights
Florida Department of Finance ǀ Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate– The Insurance Consumer Advocate is responsible for finding solutions to insurance issues, including questionable insurance practices.
Germain Law Group, P.A. ǀ Hillsborough County Policyholders Rights Attorney
The attorneys of Germain Law Group, P.A. are dedicated assisting Florida policyholders obtain honest and fair insurance coverage. If your insurance company has acted in bad faith when handling your claim, it is important to consult an experienced Tampa insurance attorney.
The experienced Tampa insurance attorneys of Germain Law Group, P.A. represent clients in all insurance matters, including personal property insurance, residential or homeowners insurance, commercial insurance, and renters insurance.
Germain Law Group, P.A. represents individuals throughout Florida, including Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter Counties, and surrounding areas. Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. at (813) 835-8888 or submit an online form for a confidential review of your case.