You filed a homeowner’s insurance claim. Now, you're wondering how long your insurance company can take to settle that claim. This blog post will answer that question in two parts:
the amount of time your insurance company has to investigate your homeowner’s claim
the amount of time your insurance company has to settle (i.e. pay) your claim
How Long Does a Homeowner’s Insurance Company Have to Investigate a Claim in Florida?
In Florida, your insurance company has 90 days to make a coverage decision (in most cases). The 90-day clock starts the second you file a claim. This is why I always tell homeowners to file the claim immediately after discovering a loss.
Florida Statute 627.70131 “Insurer’s duty to acknowledge communications regarding claims; investigation":
Within 90 days after an insurer receives notice of an initial, reopened, or supplemental property insurance claim from a policyholder, the insurer shall pay or deny such claim or a portion of the claim unless the failure to pay is caused by factors beyond the control of the insurer which reasonably prevent such payment.
Sometimes, an insurance company will try to extend the 90-day period by asking for more documentation on the 89th day. They may request additional records, sworn proof of loss, photos, estimates, etc. And no—I am not making this up!
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Settle a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, such as:
The amount of damages requested by the homeowner. Generally speaking, the more money you demand as part of your claim, the more likely the carrier will delay and fight the claim. Think about it: If you had to cut someone a check for six figures, wouldn’t you want them to work for it? This is the game that insurance companies play.
The type of loss. The more deadly a disaster, the more likely the case will settle sooner rather than later—though not always. Hurricane Michael claims, for the most part, settled pretty quickly once a suit was filed. Why? Because it was a category 5 hurricane. There is no category 6.
The specific carrier. When I accept a case and file a lawsuit, the most pertinent question I ask is who is the insurance carrier? I can usually predict how long a case will take based on this information alone. If you have a claim with Citizens, Castle Key (aka Allstate), or Universal, the case will take at least a year to resolve. Cases against AAA or Florida Farm Bureau, on the other hand, tend to resolve quickly.
That being said, I do have a few general rules I share with clients who ask me how long it will take to settle their claim:
33% of the cases settle within the first 3 months of litigation
33% settle within the first 6 months
33%—the unlucky ones—last longer than 9 months
Get Your Claim Settled Quickly and Fairly
Hopefully, this article has provided some insight into settling your homeowner's insurance claim. If you want the best outcome (in both time and compensation), I urge you to seek appropriate legal counsel.
Contact PZ Law Firm, P.A. today at (407) 500-EZPZ (3979) for a free consultation. PZ Law Firm has decades of experience handling property damage claims throughout Florida. Information is power, and power is what you need when you are suffering a property loss or damage to your home.
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.