After your property has sustained damage and you have filed a claim with the insurance company, the insurance company reviews the details and conducts its investigation. Ideally, the insurance company pays the insured what is owed to restore the property to its pre-loss condition, and the claim is resolved quickly.
Unfortunately, there are times when the insurance claim and payment process can take an unreasonable amount of time. This may cause hardship for someone who has suffered property damage, such as significant damage to their roof, water damage or other damage.
While there can be legitimate reasons that an insurance claim is taking time to be processed, there are some delays that are unreasonable. How do you know when a claim delay is unreasonable? Read on to find out some examples and do not hesitate to contact an attorney if you believe you need one.
Legitimate Reasons Why an Insurance Claim or Processing Can Take Time to Resolve
Waiting for an insurance claim to be processed and paid out can be stressful. If the money is not paid immediately, the insured may worry the insurance company is dragging its feet. However, there are some legitimate reasons why the overall process may take a reasonable amount of time.
Sometimes, just one home is affected by damage. There are cases, however, where multiple people–sometimes on a large scale–are affected. For example, if a hurricane hits a community and one thousand homes have damage, this can affect how quickly the claims are processed. Reasonable delays may be expected in situations like these.
Certain claims may be complicated. For instance, there may be extensive damage that requires careful investigation. There could be components of damage that are covered, while some damage is not, and the insurance company has to sort out those issues.
There are times when the insurance company needs additional information to make a determination on the claim. Be sure to provide and complete all paperwork in a timely manner to ensure prompt handling of your claim.
Actions You Can Take in the Event of a Delay
Contact the Insurance Company
It may be helpful to contact the insurance company and try to determine the reason for the delay. If you feel like you may need assistance obtaining a response or decision from the insurance company, it may be time to contact a property damage attorney to assist you.
Here are example instances where an attorney may be helpful to you:
Communication has stopped.
If the insurance company is not timely communicating with you, it may be helpful to contact a property damage attorney to understand your rights. It may also be helpful to document each time you correspond with the insurance company and memorialize the content of your message to the company. An attorney may help determine whether the insurance company is responding in the manner required by the policy and/or Florida law.
A lowball offer has been presented.
If you believe the company has offered you an unreasonable offer or unfairly evaluated your claimed damages, there may be a basis to challenge what is presented to you. An attorney can assist you in the evaluation of your claim and the offer presented against the damages sustained and what is necessary to restore your property to its pre-loss condition.
Your policy is canceled.
There are several legitimate reasons for an insurance company to drop an insured. However, you may still be entitled to compensation including for covered damage that occurred during the policy period, and an attorney can help you understand your rights.
Your claim meets the prerequisites for a Bad Faith claim.
The question when a bad faith claim is made is whether the insurer acted fairly and honestly toward its insured with due regard for insured’s interests.
Cooper v. Federated National Insurance Company is a recent opinion from the Fifth District Court of Appeal from one of Struble, P.A.’s bad faith trials; the opinion is believed to be the first appellate decision following a bad faith trial involving a first-party property damage claim. Cooper v. Federated Nat’l Ins. Co., 285 So. 3d 1036 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019). A property damage lawyer may assist you in evaluating whether there is a basis to pursue a claim for bad faith.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Homeowner’s Insurance Attorney Today
If you have questions or concerns about unreasonable delays or the handling of your insurance claim, feel free to contact one of our skilled homeowner’s insurance attorneys today for assistance.