News 4 Jax recently published some disconcerting projections regarding the cost of homeowners’ insurance premiums over the coming years. According to the report, a person who owns a $150,000 home in south Florida can expect to pay $68 more per year by 2019. That might not sound like a lot, but by 2022, the projected increase is $362 per year in homeowners’ insurance premiums.
The forecast is even cloudier for people who own more expensive homes. If you buy a $300,000 home this year, you can expect to pay $658 more for homeowners’ insurance by 2022.
The reason? According to NBC, there has been a substantial hike in the number of “assignment of benefit” lawsuits filed by contractors, and property owners are paying the price. Assignment of benefits (AOB) describes the process of a homeowner signing a form that gives the contractor who repairs the home the right to deal with the insurance company directly. If the insurance company disagrees with the cost of repairs or another aspect of the claim, the contractor can file an AOB lawsuit.
Over the last decade, the number of AOB lawsuits has increased from 400 per year to about 40,000. Insurance companies argue that contractors are abusing the system. Regardless of who is to blame, the only certainty that is coming out of this legal conundrum is that homeowners will have to pay hundreds of dollars more in insurance premiums over the coming years.
Unfortunately, even if you carry insurance, pay your premiums, and meet your other obligations as a policyholder, you might still run into problems when you file a claim. Far too often, insurance adjusters underestimate the cost of repairs, and contractors fail to restore properties to their pre-disaster condition.
If you were treated unfairly by your homeowners’ insurance company, it is important to remember that you have options—one of which might be to file a bad faith lawsuit against your insurer. Michael D. Leader is an insurance claims lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who can evaluate your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim against your insurance company. Likewise, Leader & Leader, P.A. also represents companies that have valid assignments and were improperly underpaid or denied payment so long as there is no fraud or deceptive or unfair trade practices on the part of the vendor or the insured.
As your attorney, Mr. Leader will make himself available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions and address your concerns. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a free initial consultation at Leader & Leader P.A.
Will My Insurance Company Have to Pay My Attorney’s Fees If My Bad Faith Lawsuit Is Successful?
Yes. In the state of Florida, if homeowners have to sue their insurance company to enforce their rights, they are entitled to have the insurance company pay their attorney’s fees and other costs of doing so.
Can I Choose My Own Contractor to Repair My Home?
The answer to this question depends on the specific language of your policy. More insurance companies are including “managed repairs” clauses in their policies, which means that the insurer may get to choose the contractor. Your insurance company might say that this is good for you because it saves you time, but ultimately, a managed repairs clause is designed to boost the insurance company’s profits because it allows your insurer to hire low-cost contractors.
If you were treated unethically by your insurance company or if your home was not restored to its pre-disaster condition, contact Leader & Leader P.A. Michael D. Leader will evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you enforce your rights. Call 954-523-2020 to schedule a free consultation with an insurance attorney in Fort Lauderdale.