Florida, as many people know, has a myriad of competing weather conditions. Residents battle the deafening humidity one week, and a hurricane the next. The inconsistent weather not only affects the people of Florida, but also the real estate. Buildings and homes are at year-round risk of storm-induced damages, which requires Floridians to have insurance policies they can rely on. Unfortunately, for many locals, the insurance company they thought they could fall back on wasn’t as trustworthy as they claimed to be.
What Constitutes As Storm Damage in Florida?
Storm damage is understood as the destructive result of weather-related events. It can manifest in a variety of property damages, and devastate even the most robust buildings. Here are some common examples of the suffering after a storm:
- Flood damage
- Sinkhole damage
- Hurricane damage
- Water damage
- Hail damage
- Wind damage
- Tree damage
- Electrical damage
The financial desolation that accompanies storm damage is what makes proper insurance coverage so important, and what makes insurance companies so reluctant to provide it. Florida residents are faced with their insurance companies’ deceptive practices all the time, and it’s up to the policyholder to be their own advocate and avoid being taken advantage of.
What Bad Faith Insurance Practices Do Florida Insurance Companies Execute?
Bad faith insurance refers to an insurer’s attempt to escape responsibilities, including but not limited to:
- Refusal to pay a policyholder’s legitimate claim
- Failure to process a claim within a reasonable time
- Failure to conduct a complete investigation
- Misrepresenting an insurance contract’s terms
- Failure to disclose extent of policy limitations and exclusions before a policy is purchased
- Offering less compensation than a claim is worth
- Making unreasonable demands on the policyholder to prove a covered loss
Florida insurance companies are more and more often facing public scrutiny for exercising these bad faith practices regularly. If your insurance company is trying to dodge compensation for the full extent of your physical and property damages, don’t let them. Hiring a Florida insurance claims lawyer is a great option for victims of storm damage.
How To Avoid Deceptive Insurance Companies
To best protect yourself from a bad faith insurance experience, begin by documenting the damage to your home to the best of your ability. That means a timely record of pictures, videos, and related receipts and documents will all support your case. Insurance companies have less of a chance to claim you can’t prove your case this way.
It’s especially important to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Failing to file your claim in a timely manner can affect a lot more than just you. In Florida, it can make you ineligible for coverage, and entire neighborhoods can be at the expense of rate increases. Filing quickly also minimizes the risk of exceeding the allotted time frame for filing.
Consult with a property damage attorney. The problem with individually going up against your insurer is the knowledge gap. Insurance companies see room to overstep when under the assumption that you won’t know they’re violating the law. An attorney can be your voice here.
Be wary of your insurance company, be thorough in your questioning, and don’t sign anything until you’ve made sure you’re informed.