Homeowner’s insurance policies are usually very broad and cover damage arising from a variety of situations, including damage from fire or lighting, damage from smoke, vandalism damage, wind or windstorm damage, hurricane damage, some accidental water damage, damage from theft, building collapses, and damage from falling objects.
Under Florida Statutes § 624.604, property insurance covers real and personal property, whether the property is on land, in the water or in the air. Not only does property insurance cover your home and the items inside your home, your policy also insures against loss or damages resulting from all perils and causes and any collateral losses that arise from such damage.
If a claim under your homeowner’s policy has been unlawfully denied or disputed by your insurance company or your provider acted in bad faith when denying your homeowner’s claim, it is important to hire a knowledgeable Tampa property insurance attorney.
Tampa Homeowners Insurance Lawyer
Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your homeowner’s insurance denial in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Michael B. Germain is knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s insurance laws and is experienced in all aspects of homeowner’s insurance disputes. Call the Germain Law Group today about your property insurance claim denial throughout the areas in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Brevard County and Manatee County, Florida.
Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage in Florida
Damage not covered by homeowner’s insurance policies typically include loss from flood and some other types of water damage, damage from earthquakes or mudslides, damage from nuclear causes, sinkhole damage and/or intentional property damage.
Certain claims may be covered or excluded from your policy depending on the insurance coverage you have. The following list includes some of the types of homeowner’s coverage in Florida:
- Homeowner’s-1 (HO-1) is the most limited type of policy and covers only a few causes of damage, including fire, lightning, smoke, wind and theft.
- Homeowner’s-2 (HO-2) is broader than a HO-1 policy and usually covers damage from lightning, fire, smoke, wind, some water damage, building collapses, falling objects, electrical damage and vandalism.
- Homeowner’s-3 (HO-3) is the special form insurance policy, and covers almost all property damage from all perils, except for those specifically excluded from your coverage.
- Homeowner’s-5 (HO-5) is the same type of coverage as the HO-3, but also covers all personal possessions.
- Homeowner’s-8 (HO-8) is a policy for older homes and is similar to an HO-1. This type of coverage is used when the replacement value of the home is more than what the home is worth.
Most homeowners are required to first pay a deductible before they can receive any financial relief under their insurance policy. It is important to be familiar with your policy to determine what type of coverage you have and what your insurance covers and specifically excludes.
Filing a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim in Florida
When filing a claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important to immediately call your property insurance attorney to ensure you give your insurer only the most necessary and correct information. Your attorney will then file a claim with your insurance carrier on your behalf, or if you have already filed a claim, they will inform your insurance provider they are now representing you and your claim. It is important to timely file a claim because any delay could ultimately result in your claim being filed outside the statute of limitations or in a denial of your claim.
It is essential to document every conversation, request all correspondence be in writing, and keep records of any purchases or receipts pertaining to your home’s damage. Also, take photographs and videos when the damage initially occurs and throughout the entire claims process. This documentation will help your provider process your claim faster and will serve as evidence if any legal action is required.
New legislation in Florida recently changed the statute of limitations (SOL), the maximum amount of time an individual has to file a claim before the claim is barred, for property claims arising from windstorm and hurricane damage from five years to three years. This time period is much shorter, so it is important to make sure these types of claims are timely filed.
The new legislation also permits insurance providers to limit sinkhole damage coverage to primary structures and withhold payments for home damage until the repairs have been made, which means in sinkhole damage claims the insured is required to pay for the repairs before they will receive any financial relief from their insurer.
Homeowners Insurance Disputes in Tampa
Your insurer will deny your homeowner’s claim for a variety of reasons. Your provider may deny your claim due to any of the following reasons:
- The cause of the damage was excluded in your policy,
- You failed to disclose certain information about your home in your application,
- The premium on your policy was not timely paid, so your policy was canceled,
- You failed to follow a certain condition required by your insurer, and/or
- The claim was fraudulently made.
When your insurance provider refuses to pay your homeowner’s damage claim, they must provide you with the specific reasons your claim was denied and the specific provisions in your policy that gave rise to the denial. If your insurer fails to follow these procedures, they may be acting in bad faith.
A recent Florida law reduced the statute of limitations for filing a breach of property insurance contract against your insurance provider to five years. Also, the statute of limitations now starts running from the date the damage occurred as opposed to the date the insurer breached the contract in bad faith. Typical breaches can include failure to timely pay a claim, unnecessarily delaying the claims process, and paying less than what the policyholder should have received for damages.
Homeowner’s insurance disputes and denials can be costly, time-consuming and frustrating; therefore, it is important to hire a knowledgeable attorney in Tampa to help you recover the damages you are entitled to and proceed with any necessary legal action on your behalf.
Germain Law Group, P.A. | Homeowners Attorney in Tampa
Contact the Germain Law Group today for a consultation about your homeowner’s insurance claim denial in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Brevard County and Manatee County. Michael B. Germain is a knowledgeable Tampa property insurance lawyer who will listen to the facts of your situation and help you determine the best recourse in pursuing your homeowner’s insurance claim. Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your property insurance issues throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Titusville, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Bradenton, and Palmetto.