How long does a home insurance claim take in Florida? When you file a homeowners insurance claim in the Sunshine State, you might expect immediate relief. Here’s why that’s a mistake.
While it is practically impossible to pinpoint how long an insurance claim will take to pay out, there are a few milestones you can rely on to get an idea about what to expect. It can take days, weeks, or even months—sometimes even years—before you see a single cent from your insurance provider. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding your claim.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you wait for the insurance company to cut you a check.
How long does a home insurance claim take in Florida?
In Florida, insurance companies have 90 days to notify you whether they have accepted or denied your claim. If your insurance provider approves your claim, the Florida Statues state that they must pay you within 20 days of their decision.
If they do not pay your approved claim within this timeframe, the payout will accrue an interest rate of 12% per year.
The larger the claim, the more likely your provider is to use the whole three-month limit, so they have 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.
The important thing to remember is that you have rights as a homeowners insurance policyholder. It is critical to understand what your rights and responsibilities are so that you can prepare your claim accordingly.
Homeowner Claim Bill of Rights: Important Time Limits for Florida Homeowners Insurance Claims
In Florida, you have four years to file a homeowners insurance claim from the date of the incident. However, filing a claim in a timely manner will help you preserve evidence and increase your chances of an acceptable settlement, so it is important not to wait any longer than necessary. If you file outside of this time period, your homeowners insurance may deny the claim altogether.
After you first notify your insurance provider of your claim, they have 14 days to acknowledge that they have received your claim, as well as provide you with a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights. Florida requires insurance providers to acknowledge the receipt of a claim within this timeframe, barring any circumstances beyond the provider’s control. This Bill of Rights outlines your rights as a homeowners insurance policyholder. You have the right to:
- Receive an acknowledgment of your claim from the insurance company within 14 days of your initial communication with them.
- Receive from the insurance company upon written request confirmation that your claim is covered in full, partially covered, denied, or that it is being investigated within 30 days of submitting a complete proof-of-loss statement.
- Receive full or partial payment for your claim or a denial of your claim within 90 days of filing the claim.
- Receive payment of interest on your claim if the insurance company does not pay or deny your claim within 90 days of filing.
- Receive free mediation of a disputed claim by the Florida Department of Financial Services.
- Receive neutral evaluation of a disputed claim that involves sinkhole damage covered by your policy.
- Receive free assistance from the Florida Department of Financial Services for any questions you may have about your claim.
In addition to confirming 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 to support 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.
How long does a home insurance claim take in Florida? The answer could depend on whether you have the evidence to support your claim. Get in touch with RRBH Law so we can discuss your next steps.
Common Reasons for a Claim Denial
While most insurance claims get approved, the insurance company may deny your claim, even if it is valid. Here are common reasons why your home insurance claim might get denied.
1. Lack of Coverage
When your property is damaged and you don’t have the right kind of coverage, you may be out of luck. Depending on the situation, some plans will cover you for losses that might result from falling objects, theft, or natural disasters such as fire or flood. You should check your policy to see that you have the coverage you need.
2. Missed Deadlines
Insurers place time-sensitive requirements on filing and documenting home insurance claims. If you miss the filing window, an otherwise valid claim can be denied. If your home sustains damage from a covered peril, notify your insurance company and start the claims process as soon as possible to avoid any chances of losing out on your potential settlement.
3. Failing to Pay Premiums
Non-payment of your home insurance premiums or missing payments can lead to a lapse in your policy. Missing payments on these types of policies can lead to a claim denial, so double-check with your provider to see what impact non-payment will have on your coverage. Make sure to keep up with home insurance payments to avoid losing coverage when you need it.
4. Misrepresenting or Failing to Disclose Information
It’s essential to be honest about the damage at your home and report accurate information on insurance claims forms. There are a number of reasons why an insurance company might deny your claim, including lying about the nature and scope of the damage. Make sure you follow this important step before filing a claim.
5. Poor Documentation
Property owners need to document any and all damage resulting from a disaster in addition to other relevant information when filing a claim. Adjusters need as much information as possible in order to petition for the validity of a claim. If you fail to provide enough proof, your insurance company may deny the claim, and you’ll be on the hook for the costs.
6. Failing to Secure the Home from Further Damage
Not maintaining the property adequately after a covered loss may lead to an insurance company denying a claim. For instance, if your home sustains wind damage that causes a roof leak and you do nothing to stop water from entering your home, you could be at risk of losing out on your claim. Almost all homeowner policies require homeowners to prevent further damage.
What You Should Do When Filing a Claim
Many people simply don’t know what to do when filing a Florida homeowners insurance claim because they’ve never had to do it before. Insurance companies use this to their advantage to underpay and deny claims that should be paid partially or in full. If you put yourself in that category, the following steps could help you increase your chances of a payout that meets your needs:
- 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 all receipts—from hotel stays, repair supplies, and other expenses you incur as a result of the damage to your home.
- 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? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. After recent storms like Irma and Michael, we have seen many home insurance policyholders wait anywhere from several months to a few years to get the settlement they deserve.
Home Insurance Company Not Responding to Claim? This Could Be Why
In our life, we may experience bad things that require insurance protection. People are often misled by their insurance companies or ignored after an accident, so they accept less than what they are entitled to after an accident. Responding to your claim promptly is part of your responsibility for acting in good faith and acting in ‘bad faith’ can lead to you filing a lawsuit.
Those who have filed a claim for homeowners insurance and think they have been wrongfully denied or received a meager payout are still given options. The following factors are likely to be contributing to delays in receiving a response to your claim submission from your insurance company if you have been experiencing delays in receiving a response.
● Documentation collection
Keep documentation on all aspects of your claim so that your insurance company does not mislead you. It is essential to have your medical records, accident reports, and correspondence with your insurer after the incident. You need to do your best to avoid talking to your insurance company on the phone. Instead, make sure that you ask anyone who wants to correspond in writing so that you will have records.
● Awaiting investigation
A formal investigation may still be pending, so you are in a bind. Your insurance company may be reluctant to contact you when there are no updates to share, even though it would be nice for them to do so. Chasing down an insurance company can be tedious and time-consuming, so having a good attorney by your side can make all the difference in getting a claim resolved.
● Be aware of your rights and insurance policies
To gain the best insight into what is expected if an individual needs to claim under an insurance policy, it would be necessary to review an existing or new policy thoroughly. In the document, you can find information on the coverage, how to submit a claim, and how to estimate the amount of damage reimbursement you can receive.
When an insurance company interviews you to determine the value of your property or the details of an accident, having an attorney present can be a good idea, especially if the amounts are significant. In a dispute, you should also understand your rights, which should be detailed in your policy or discussed with your agent, insurer, or state regulator.
● Consult an experienced attorney
With insurance lawsuits, an attorney with experience can be a great ally. They can help you determine whether your insurance company is acting in bad faith and how much you should be compensated for your accident. Whether you decide to sue or not, you will be able to receive the best possible representation from an attorney who has ample experience in this field.
Additionally, you may want to check the background of your current insurance provider and use this information when searching for a new provider, besides studies evaluating insurance providers individually. A claim is processed correctly and in a timely manner. Nonetheless, it is helpful to be aware of the challenges you might face if the process doesn’t go as smoothly as you would like.
How long does a home insurance claim take in Florida? The answer depends on several factors. 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.