Sustaining property damage can be stressful. Waiting on the insurance company to pay the claim can also be stressful. In Florida, there are rules that govern the claims process. Read on to see what the claims timeline entails for both insurance companies and insured people, as well as ways to avoid delays.
Breaking Down the Claims Timeline
Insurance companies promise to take care of the damage in the event that the cause of the damage and what has been damaged are covered in the policy. The actual claims process can be tricky for homeowners. Fortunately, the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights outlines the timeline that all Florida insurers must operate under and details the insurance claims process in the state.
An insurance company has 14 days to acknowledge that they have received your claim. They will be required to do so unless there is some legitimate circumstance that is out of their control. In addition, they must also provide you with the property forms to fill out, along with the instructions for filling out those forms.
In the interim, you are not prevented from contacting your insurance company and seeing if they have received it. It is best to correspond with the insurance company via certified mail or email to document that correspondence.
Within 30 days of submitting a complete proof of loss statement, the insurance company is required to let you know, upon written request, that your claim will be covered in full, covered partially, denied, or investigated.
You have 90 days from the filing of the claim to receive full or partial payment for your claim or a denial of your claim. If the insurance company does not pay or deny your claim within those 90 days, you are entitled to receive payment of interest on your claim.
One thing to note is that this timeline does not just affect the insurance companies–it also applies to insureds. In Florida, you have four years from the date of an incident to file a claim for homeowners insurance. While you have this much time, you must give prompt notice.
Note that new legislation passed after this post in both the House and Senate and was approved by the Governor and filed in the Office of the Secretary of State on December 16, 2022. This includes amendments to Section 627.7142 Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, which expressly take effect on March 1, 2023, and include the following:
– The right to receive from your insurance company a copy of any detailed estimate of the amount of the loss within 7 days after the estimate is generated by the insurance company’s adjuster.
– 90 days is amended to 60 days within which the insurance company must pay or deny your claim
– 90 days is changed to 60 days in the above-referenced payment of interest provision
Read more about the new legislation here: http://laws.flrules.org/2022/271
Common Reasons Claims Take Longer
Questions About Scope and Cause of Damage
In some cases, it is obvious to investigators what caused the damage and what the scope of the damage is. For instance, a home with a newly, properly installed roof sustains major damage during a hurricane. There are other circumstances, however, where there are more questions.
A property owner has the responsibility to mitigate damages. There also may be complicated questions about how much to pay out or the amount of the loss. For instance, an insurance company and a client may disagree about the valuation of something. This might stem from the insurance company thinking that they should repair something rather than replace it altogether. One way to prevent delays in negotiation is to attach evidence of the valuation.
It is important that all claims are accompanied by the necessary documentation and paperwork. When filing a claim, consider showing photos or other proof of the value. An insurer may ask for you to provide these documents before making a decision on the claim, and this can extend the process– or the insurer can deny the claim altogether.
Large Claims Will Take Longer
Larger claims may take longer and may include a lengthy and involved process, as they may require investigators to look at the damage, determine the cause of the damage, provide estimates, and determine whether things can be salvaged or if they have to be replaced.
Dealing With Long Claims Processes
One way to try and speed up the claims process is to stay in contact with the insurance company. Consider staying in contact and asking for updates about your claim so that you see where the insurance company is in the process.
You can also be proactive about providing things that the insurance adjuster may need. Check in and ask them periodically if they have all of the documentation that they need. You may be able to speed up the process by providing that documentation midway through the adjustment process rather than having the claim denied (or given an underpayment) and then having to provide the documentation at a later date.
Speak to a Homeowners’ Insurance Attorney
Contact our office today at 321-415-9012 to speak with one of our homeowners’ insurance attorneys if you would like to discuss the particulars of your situation. We present the material contained on our website and pages, including this Blog, for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with legal counsel about your particular facts and circumstances. Contact us to see how we may be able to fight for you!