A few weeks back, our blog began discussing how the Florida Legislature took definitive action in the aftermath of 2005’s devastating hurricane season to strengthen the position of homeowners in their dealings with insurance companies by passing legislation creating the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights.
To recap, the law requires insurance companies to provide homeowners with a single sheet clearly summarizing their rights within 14 days of receiving any communication relating to the filing of a claim (except in those situations where the acting governor has claimed a state of emergency).
We’ll continue this discussion in today’s post, discussing the information that must be communicated to homeowners under the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, and some of the steps they are urged to take to protect their rights and best interests.
What are some of the rights conferred under the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights?
Homeowners must be apprised of some of the following rights under the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights by their insurance company:
- Their right to receive communication from an insurer acknowledging acceptance of their claim within 14 days
- Their right to receive communication from an insurer outlining whether their claim is denied, partially covered, fully covered or still under investigation within 30 days
- Their right to receive partial or full payment, or a final decision on a claim denial within 90 days
- Their right to mediate a disputed claim via the Division of Consumer Services
What are some of the steps that state law advises homeowners in these difficult positions to take to protect their rights and best interests?
- If necessary, take steps to secure the property (turn off water, gas, electricity, etc.) and provide the insurance company with the necessary contact information if the property must be vacated due to the damage.
- If emergency repairs are required to prevent further damage to the home, keep complete records, including receipts and before-and-after photographs.
- If contractors are retained, ask them to provide proof of insurance prior to commencing any work.
- If a contract provided by a contractor calls for out-of-pocket expenses, or a fee based on a percentage of the proceeds ultimately received from the insurance company for repairing/replacing the property, read carefully and proceed cautiously.
Above all else, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you have concerns relating to denied or delayed claims under a homeowners’ or flood insurance policy.Share