When you file a Florida homeowners insurance claim, you might expect immediate relief. Here’s why that would be a mistake.
While it is difficult to pinpoint how long an insurance claim on your home will take, we can say that it can take days, weeks, or even months before you see a single cent from your insurance provider. It all depends on your claim and the circumstances surrounding it. In general, though, you can expect your claim to follow these rules.
Important Timeframes for Florida Homeowners Insurance Claims
After you first notify your insurance provider of your claim, if you don’t speak to a representative at the moment of filing, you can expect them to get back to you within 14 days. Florida requires insurance providers to acknowledge the receipt of a claim within this timeframe, barring any circumstances beyond the provider’s control. If you file outside of this time period, your homeowners insurance may try to deny the claim altogether.
According to Florida legal statutes, your homeowners insurance policy needs to provide you with a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights within 14 days of your initial communication about a claim. This Bill of Rights will outline when you can expect to find out:
- Whether your claim will be fully or partially covered
- Whether your claim will be investigated
- When you should receive your settlement or claim denial
If your claim was not denied, Florida legal statues also state that your insurance must pay you within 20 days of their decision. Otherwise, their debt to you will accrue an interest rate of 12% per year.
In addition to confirmation that they have received your claim, your insurance provider must also give you the proper forms for you to fill out along with instructions. Once you have the forms you need to submit your claim, you should focus on gathering and documenting evidence of your claim. See our other blog post here to learn more about documenting evidence. Once your insurance carrier receives your proof of loss statements, they have 10 days to begin an investigation.
Another thing to know about Florida homeowners insurance claims is that the insurance carrier has up to 90 days to notify you they have accepted or denied your claim. The larger the claim, the more likely your provider is to use the whole three-month timeframe, as they want to take as much time as possible to find ways to reduce your payout. You should definitely be wary of claim denials that give vague reasons—or no reasons—for the decision as this could mean you are the victim of bad faith insurance practices.
What You Should Do When Filing a Claim
Many people simply don’t know what to do when filing Florida homeowners insurance claim because they’ve never had to do it before. If you put yourself in that category, the following steps might help:
- Document all the damage your home sustained.
- Do not start discarding ruined items until your home is inspected.
- Make only temporary repairs that will prevent further damage to the structure.
- Save any receipts—from hotel stays, repair supplies, you name it.
- Contact your insurance to get your claim reference number.
- Receive and fill out the claim forms the insurance company sends to you.
- Confirm whether the insurance adjuster is a company employee or an independent adjuster during the inspection.
Once the process begins, you shouldn’t have to wait more than three or four months to get the money you’re owed, right? Well, as the Miami Herald recently reported, 20,000 victims of Hurricane Michael are still waiting for their claims to be settled—eight months later.
If you want to make sure your Florida homeowners insurance claim is handled quickly and with the proper care by your insurance, get in touch with us before filing. We will help you work through the process with the goal of maximizing your claim.