Delray Beach Homeowner Insurance Lawyers
You purchase homeowner’s insurance to protect yourself in case anything happens to your home or to someone in your home. You pay your premiums on time, confident that doing so is exactly what you need to do in order to protect yourself and your family from disaster. However, if you are like many people, when disaster does strike, instead of relying on your insurance company for help, you find yourself in a fight with your homeowner’s insurance. Whether outright denying your claim or simply offering you an insufficient amount of compensation, when disaster strikes, policy owners often feel like the insurance companies have all the power.
Swing the balance of power back in your direction by hiring a Delray Beach homeowner’s insurance attorney from Demand the Limits. At Demand the Limits, our experienced personal injury attorneys recognize that you and your insurance company often have competing interests. After all, insurance companies are in business to make money, while, as a customer, you have hired them to protect your interests. Insurance companies may want to put profit above your interests, but a lawyer from Demand the Limits can make sure that they adhere to the terms of your contract, instead, and that you get the protection and coverage that you purchased from them.
What You Should Know
One of the questions we get from our South Florida customers is “are all insurance companies shady?” The answer to that question is “no.” Many insurance companies have well-deserved good reputations for taking care of their clients or for paying on claims against their insureds. Even insurance companies with bad reputations may do well by some of their clients. It often comes down to how an individual insurance adjuster interprets and applies their company’s policies. However, the across-the-board reality for insurance companies is that when they pay a claim, they lose money. The higher the payment, the more money that they lose.
When you hire an attorney from Demand the Limits, you are not just hiring a legal expert, but also an area expert. Our attorneys are familiar with homeowner’s insurance claims across South Florida, particularly the Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade county areas. They know what a good settlement offer is for the area for particular claims, as well as which insurance companies and individual adjusters have good or bad reputations. This type of knowledge can be invaluable in helping you assess whether your insurance company is treating you fairly.
If you have questions about a possible insurance claim, we strongly urge you to contact us for a free consultation. What we have discovered is that many people do not even know what their homeowner’s insurance policy covers. In an ideal world, this would never happen. Instead of being drafted in confusing legalese, homeowner’s insurance contracts would be written in easy-to-understand language clearly outlining the obligations of both parties, and also clearly highlighting any areas of exclusion. However, the reality is that insurance contracts can be notoriously difficult to decipher.
Some types of damage that might be covered under your homeowner’s insurance contract include: hail, hurricanes, windstorms, lightening, fire, theft, and vandalism. Generally, flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance policies, but requires a separate flood insurance policy. However, how the flooding occurred can make a difference in whether the damage is covered. Flood exclusions often apply to water that comes up into the home, such as from a rising river or storm surge, while your policy may still cover flood damage to your home caused by a leaking roof or burst pipe.
What really complicates the matter is that many people buy what are known as package policies. These policies can have very odd exclusions. For example, they may cover some types of storm damage, such as wind damage, but specifically exclude hail damage. They may also cover fire damage, but not the water damage that comes with extinguishing a fire.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to most people is that in Florida, as with many coastal states, flood insurance is not part of a general homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood insurance is often required as a condition for mortgages in flood zones, but many people believe that if they are not in a flood zone, they do not need flood insurance. In 2017, alone, the United States and the Caribbean experienced a series of devastating hurricanes that did billions of dollars of property damage outside of areas that were considered at risk for flooding. In a coastal state like Florida, which is surrounding by water on both sides, it is probably prudent for any homeowner to purchase a separate flood insurance policy, even if they do not live in a flood zone.
In fact, while many people think of contacting a homeowner’s insurance attorney only when making a claim against an insurance company, if you have any questions about what your insurance policy does or does not cover, you may want to seek a consultation with us before you need to make a claim. An insurance contract is an expensive legal relationship, and, while you may hesitate to spend money on an attorney when your insurer assures you that everything will be covered, you do not want to find out afterwards that you have been duped.
Furthermore, you have to keep in mind that in the insurance business, filing a claim almost certainly means an increase in rates the next time your policy is reviewed. While this rate increase should not prevent you from filing a claim, it is something that you want to consider. You do not want to file a claim that is ultimately denied only to see your rates increased because the claim was filed. That is why we urge you to come in for a free consultation before you file any claims. We will be happy to sit down with you and go over your policy, let you know if the type of loss is covered, let you know if there are any limitations (usually there will be a deductible), and help you calculate the estimated amount of your claim. This information can help you decide whether or not it is a good financial idea to file your claim. Oftentimes homeowner’s policies exclude repairs until they reach a certain percentage of the home’s value. In those cases, it is often more affordable for you to pay for minor repairs out-of-pocket.
When you have made on-time payments to your insurance company, you may wonder how they can refuse to pay your claim. While not exhaustive, here are some of the reasons that insurance companies use to deny claims: they claim that damage was caused by wear and tear/ deterioration/ lack of maintenance rather than by a covered event. For example, if you have a roof that was damaged by hail, the insurance company may claim that the roof was old and not properly maintained, which is why it was damaged.
Contact Our Delray Beach Homeowner Insurance Lawyers
If you believe that your insurance company has improperly denied your claim or has offered you an insufficient amount to cover your damages, contact us today. We can help you determine the appropriate value of your claim, demand a fair settlement from your insurance company, and be willing to fight for your rights at trial.
(561) 600-3555 – CALL NOW