Updated: Sep 19, 2018
Property damage comes in many forms. Did a pipe burst under your bathtub or by your kitchen sink? Was your roof damaged from hail or a windstorm? Did you sustain Hurricane Irma damage to your home? Did a massive tree fall into your attic? Perhaps you noticed a water spot on your ceiling that wasn’t there previously?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may have a property insurance claim.
What is a property insurance claim?
A property insurance claim arises when your home (or personal property within your home) is damaged as the result of a covered loss. Your insurance policy decides which events are covered and which events are not covered. It’s necessary to review your insurance policy in its entirety before determining if a claim is covered or not.
What to do if you have a property insurance claim
What should you do when you think that you have a property insurance claim? The following list should guide you through the basics of your obligations; however, you can always call PZ Law Firm, P.A. at 407-500-EZPZ (3979) if you feel like your insurance company is not playing by the rules.
1. Notify your insurance company of property damage
This is very important. An insurance company can NOT pay for damage that it doesn’t know about. This is also a good time to request of copy of your insurance policy (if you don’t already have a copy). Finally, ask your insurance company for the claim number – in case you need to make additional calls to your insurance company.
2. Document your property damage
Take pictures of everything that is damaged. Provide these photographs to your insurance company. Additionally, make a list of costs that you incur related to your damaged home (e.g., hotel, gas, groceries, etc.). Don’t forget to document damage to your personal property, such as clothing, textiles, and/or food. Generally, anything that is not attached to the structure of your home is considered personal property in an insurance context.
3. Protect your home from further damage
Your insurance company has 90 days to investigate the property damage at your home. It is your obligation under the insurance policy to protect your home from further property damage. Specifically, that means stopping the leak in your home or placing a tarp over your roof or drying out standing water.
4. Keep a written journal/timeline of your claim
Keeping a record of your claim over time is essential. Be sure to include all communications with your insurance company. As your claim progresses, you will speak to various adjusters, claim(s) handlers, contractors, etc. Insurance companies do this on purpose to make a claim complicated and confusing. A journal/timeline will be crucial if you ultimately have to hire an attorney.
5. Cooperate with your insurance company
Usually, your insurance company will request to inspect the property damage at your home. Provide your insurance company with your list of damaged property and any photographs of the damaged property. Contact an experienced attorney (see #6 below) if/when your insurance company asks you to provide a recorded statement and/or an examination under oath.
6. Contact an experienced property insurance attorney
An experienced property insurance attorney can help you navigate the insurance claim process at little or no cost to you. Our attorneys at PZ Law Firm, P.A. have handled thousands of property insurance claims. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your claim. If you are wrongfully denied or underpaid by your insurance carrier, Florida law (F.S. 627.428) requires your insurance company to pay your attorney fees and costs.
An insurance claim can be stressful, time-consuming, and confusing. Do not do it alone. The team at PZ Law Firm, P.A. is available to help you through this difficult time. We pride ourselves on providing world-class representation for little or no cost to our clients. We NEVER charge a fee unless you prevail. Make sure that your insurance company is playing by the rules. Call us at (407) 500-EZPZ (3979) today for a free consultation related to your home’s damage.
Disclaimer: This column does not create a client-attorney relationship and is not intended as legal advice. Should you need any legal advice, speak to an attorney who is skilled in the area and jurisdiction you require.