If your home has been damaged in a fire, lightning strike, storm, hail, or due to a burglary, you may have questions about what your next steps should be. In some cases, you may not want to make a claim, especially if damage to your home is lower than your deductible. Understanding what is and isn’t covered by your policy is important, as is understanding what your deductible amount is. In some cases, damage is covered, but the damage is lower than your deductible. If the damage to your home is lower than your deductible, then it might not always be in your best interests to make a claim. Making too many claims can impact your insurance premiums in the future and even impact the ability to find coverage with a carrier you want to have. As a general rule, if the damage to your home is lower than your deductible, you may not want to file a claim with your insurance company. Be careful though.  If you have not carefully vetted the damage and you have extensive hidden damage and fail to make a timely claim, not making the claim can hurt you.  You definitely should consider not making a claim when you will not reach or meaningfully exceed your deductible (i.e. if your deductible is $2500.00 and you will only get $800 after your deductible is applied, the $800 may not be worth having the claim history and the impact it can have on you). If you have questions about homeowner’s insurance claims, your rights when it comes to claims, and whether you should file a claim, consider speaking to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC today. Our insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida can help you understand your rights and options under the law.

What is a Deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you are required to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. A deductible can be a percentage of your loss or a specific dollar amount. For example, if your roof is damaged and repairs will cost $1000, but you have a $1000 deductible, then your insurance policy will not cover the damage because the damage equals the cost of the deductible. But, if your roof damage costs $5000, then you’ll pay $1000 out of pocket and your insurance policy will cover the other $4000 in loss. If the insurance covers a percentage of your loss, you may be responsible for the percentage of the loss that is your deductible. So, if your insurance policy covers you for 80% of all damages, and your roof repairs are $1000, you’ll be required to pay $200 out of pocket and your insurance policy will cover the remaining $800.

Understanding what is covered by your insurance policy is the first step you should take when making a claim. Understanding your deductible amount and the cost of your home’s damages is important when evaluating whether or not to make a claim. Sometimes the damage is higher than the deductible, but it is only slightly higher. Homeowners may then need to balance the benefits of making a claim with the risk that premiums might increase after they make a claim. If you have questions about your deductible and how it impacts your ability to make a claim, contact Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida today. If your claim has been denied or you don’t understand why you are being asked to pay a certain amount out of pocket, our insurance claims lawyers may be able to help you.

It is important to note that if you have a cap on your coverage (i.e. only $10,000 available for mold damage regardless of the amounts of coverage you have on the home as whole) and your damages exceed your cap, the amount above the cap applies towards your deductible and is “absorbed by the excess” amount.  If you have a $10,000 mold cap, a $2,500 deductible and $12,500 in damages, the “excess” of $2,500 above your policy limit will absorb the deductible of $2,500 and you would be entitled to the full $10,000 in mold coverage even after your deductible is applied.

Understanding Deductibles Related to Specific Disasters

If you live in an area prone to flood or earthquakes, or if you own valuables that require special riders, each of these additional policies may each have their own deductibles. For example, if your home is damaged in a flood, your basic homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover flood damage. However, if you have flood insurance, you may need to make a claim against this policy and the deductibles with this policy may be different than the deductibles from your basic homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have earthquake insurance, a similar situation may apply. Homeowners who live in Florida should also pay special attention to hurricane deductibles. In hurricane-prone areas, insurers may have separate deductibles for hurricane damage, as opposed to damage that occurs due to fires or other types of weather phenomenon. Read your policy, understand the deductible structure, and understand your rights before you file a claim. If you have questions about your deductible or your homeowner’s insurance claim, consider speaking to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC, an insurance claims lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Selecting the Right Deductible Amount

The time to think about your deductible amount is before you make a claim. In general, you should choose the highest deductible amount or percentage you can afford, because this will lower your monthly premiums. Raising your deductible also means that you’ll likely make fewer claims, because lower-value damage you’ll fix yourself. Every claim you make can increase your premiums, so it’s important to balance what you can afford with what you’ll end up paying in premiums every month. If you don’t know what your deductible is or if you believe that your homeowner’s insurance policy should cover more damages than your adjuster is permitting or is claiming is covered under your policy, contact Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC today.

Seek Answers About Your Homeowner’s Insurance Claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Your deductible is just one aspect of your insurance policy that can impact your claim. If you have questions about an insurance claim, if your claim was denied, or if you have been offered a lower settlement than you believe you deserve, reach out to Leader, Leader, & Zucker, PLLC today. Our insurance claims lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida may be able to help you.


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