PROBLEMS WITH HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE CLAIMS AND WHY YOU MAY NEED AN INSURANCE LAWYER TO HELP IN FORT LAUDERDALE
Most people believe that when they have a problem with their home, their insurance carrier will be there to help. However, when a loss occurs policyholders are often left on their own. Despite paying significant premiums, insurers frequently look for any reason to deny valid claims.
Catastrophes, fires, floods, water damage, smoke, old pipes as well as a host of other problems occur over the course of time. Repairs to fix these issues cost thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. To save money and avoid paying for these repairs, insurers sometimes improperly deny claims. Other times, claims are improperly delayed.
Rather than spend the money on their policyholders, insurers often retain so-called “experts” to inspect your property and determine that your claim is not covered. At Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, we have extensive experience in property damage evaluation and insurance policy interpretation. Not only can we often be of great help and profoundly increase your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve, but in most cases, we can accept the case on a pure contingency basis. That means you, the client, are not responsible for any of our legal fees–win or lose. And, if we win, the fees are typically paid by the insurance company, in addition to your benefits, as opposed to a percentage of your recovery going to your lawyer. In short, in most cases, one hundred percent of the recovery for benefits to which you are entitled will go to you as they were intended and are not eaten up by legal fees and costs.
Insurers in Florida continue to increase insurance premiums and reduce benefits. At the same time, insurers routinely deny claims, even when those claims should be paid. If your insurance claim has been denied for the following reasons, our insurance claim attorney’s may be able to help:
- Late Notice;
- Failure to Cooperate;
- Constant and Repeated Seepage
- Faulty Repairs
- Faulty Maintenance;
- Wear and Tear;
Even when claims are paid, Florida insurers routinely underpay claims. It is not uncommon for claims to be underpaid by tens of thousands of dollars. At Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, we have extensive experience working with contractors and adjusters to correctly evaluate and value the damage to your home to help you recover the amount you need to make proper repairs to your home. Homeowner’s insurance policies should provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that when an unforeseen accident occurs your homeowner’s insurance will protect you and your property. It is staggering to see how many claims are profoundly underpaid. It is not uncommon to see the insurance company offer to pay ten percent (10%) or less of what is actually needed to correctly repair your home.
In addition to denying and underpaying claims, Florida insurers often fail to provide all of the benefits to which the policyholder has paid and is entitled. Most policies provide the following types of coverage:
– Protection against damage to your home;
– Protection against damage to your personal property;
– Additional living expenses in the event you have to live elsewhere while repairs are made to your property;
– Protection against civil liability claims including negligence and premises liability.
If your insurance company fails to pay any of the above benefits or does not pay enough to complete all necessary repairs, you should speak to an attorney that focuses their practice on insurance law as soon as possible. One of the most common failures involves coverage for expenses incurred in the course of making repairs. These benefits are generally referred to as additional living expenses or “ALE.” Insurers routinely prey on their policyholder’s inexperience and fail to explain that these benefits are available. While Florida law prohibits an insurer from treating its insured unfairly and unjustly, many insurers engage in such conduct. We can help protect the rights and benefits to which you are entitled. An experienced insurance attorney may be able to recover benefits to which you did not know you were entitled. If your homeowner’s claim has been denied, unreasonably delayed, or if you have not been paid the proper amount, you may need the assistance of a Florida insurance attorney.
While Public Adjusters can be enormously helpful in these matters and are professionals we routinely work with, we recommend you contact us first. Doing so will allow us to refer you to the appropriate professionals who we have experience working with and believe to be reputable. Even if you have a Public Adjuster, we can provide legal advice and help protect your interests and work with your Public Adjuster to get you the best possible outcome.
Insurance Bad Faith
Florida law provides many protections for policyholders and provides stiff penalties for insurers that fail to live up to their obligations. In Florida, when an insurer does not act in good faith, the law allows an insured to recover damages under what’s referred to as a “bad faith lawsuit.” If your insurer fails to properly evaluate your claim, respond to your questions, threatens you, delays your claim payment, or otherwise acts improperly, you may be able to recover money damages in excess of the costs to repair your home. These laws are complicated and require an attorney familiar with the law in Florida. Before you can recover such damages, a civil remedy notice must be filed. The timing and content of these documents is critical and requires a lawyer experienced in handling these types of issues. We have been battling and winning against the insurance industry for years and know what is required for our clients to have successful outcomes. In fact, the attorneys at Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC have years of experience defending insurance carriers and know how insurance companies handle claims.
First Party & Third Party Homeowner’s Insurance Claims
A first party insurance claim involves filing a claim against your own insurance company. Because insurance companies regularly deny legitimate claims, it’s often necessary to file a lawsuit against your insurance company.
A third party claim involves a lawsuit against another policyholder. The typical third party insurance lawsuit involves premises liability. For example, if someone hurts themselves at your property and sues you, your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover this type of claim and, is therefore, referred to as a third party claim. Just as in property cases, insurers often try to deny these claims using any possible reason. In these situations, you could be facing liability and the prospect of paying for a mistake out of your pocket. The language contained in your policy and the interpretation of that language is critical. An experienced attorney can help you figure out what is covered and what is not. When the insurance company is wrong, we can help you obtain the benefits to which you are entitled. If you receive a denial letter or a letter in which the insurer states, they are “reserving their rights”, you should contact an attorney at Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, to help you understand your rights.
Help Filing your claim
Many things can harm your prospects of recovering insurance benefits even before you file a claim. For example, if you wait too long after the damage occurs or fail to keep the damaged property, you may be providing your insurer with a reason to deny the claim. Before you submit a claim to your insurer, it is often helpful to have an insurance professional, such as an attorney, help you submit the claim correctly.
If you report a claim late or accidently provide conflicting or confusing information, your insurer may request that you appear for an examination under oath referred to as an “EUO.” Your insurance company may also request that you provide a recorded statement. While your insurer may tell you these are informal tools to help with your claim, these type of requests can be treacherous for those without experience. Generally, in an EUO the insurance company will hire an attorney to question you under oath, and in the presence of a court reporter. Likewise, during a recorded statement, the insurance company will extensively question you regarding the circumstances surrounding your claim all while recording every word. Preparing and preforming your best gives you the best chance to have your claim paid. At Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, our attorneys can help prepare you and protect your rights before, during, and after an examination or recorded statement.
Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC is experienced in dealing with insurance companies. We know how Florida insurance companies handle homeowner’s insurance. Our background and experience assists us in promptly evaluating your claim and identifying potential shortcomings of your insurance company’s handling or denial of your claim. AtLeader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC, we are well-versed in the specific procedures involved in pursuing a claim and protecting our clients’ rights under state and federal law. We work tirelessly in order to help policyholders obtain all of the insurance benefits to which they are entitled.
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There are all sorts of technical legal issues an insurance company may attempt to use to deny coverage. For example, some may provide seemingly arbitrary coverage for some damage and not others. They may use the opinions of their so called “experts” to dispute your claim. Your homeowner’s claim may also be denied if the insurance company determines that you made the slightest error in any step of the process – sometimes as petty as how you filled out a form. Although, they may try to deny coverage on such a basis, it is often not legally justified and can frequently be successfully challenged.
The insurance company knows that once it denies a claim, most people will accept the denial and let the company off the hook. They know most claimants are not experts in the facts and laws that apply, but Leader, Leader & Zucker, PLLC has the knowledge, skill and experience to combat these improper denials on your behalf.
For more information on homeowner’s insurance claims, click here.
For information on Insurance Claim Denials, click here.
When Should I Contact an Insurance Claim Lawyer