Updated: Mar 22, 2019
Suffering damage to your home is stressful enough. That’s just the start of it. Trying to fix your home while dealing with your insurance company creates a whole separate headache. Contractors and adjusters will arrive at your house and seem to confuse the issues even more. You may think to yourself, “When will this process be over, and how long will it take my insurance company to pay my claim?”
The answers to these questions vary on a claim-by-claim basis. No two claims are exactly the same. However, Florida law outlines how and when an insurance company handles your claim. The following is a rough timeline set out by Florida law.
Acknowledgment Within 14 Days
Fla. Stat. 627.70131(1)(a) requires that your insurance company acknowledge your claim within 14 days of receiving notice from you. This is generally a brief letter from your insurance company after you report the claim. The letter typically includes a claim number and list of obligations required under your insurance policy. It may also request more information related to your claim.
Investigation Within 10 Days of Proof of Loss Statement
Fla. Stat. 627.70131(3) requires your insurance company to begin investigating your claim within 10 days of you providing a “proof of loss” statement (unless your policy states otherwise). A proof of loss is a form that provides calculations for your insurance claim. If your proof of loss statement is not complete, your insurance company may reject it. It is important that you speak to an experienced attorney if you have any questions about this form—especially if your insurance company rejects your form for being incomplete.
Coverage (Or Denial) Within 90 Days of Notice
Fla. Stat. 627.70131(5)(a) states that, after proper notice to your insurance company, the insurance company has 90 days to pay or deny your claim. In some cases, insurance companies will choose to pay (or deny) only part of your claim. Regardless, this may NOT be the end of your claim. Often, insurance carriers will cover a claim – but the amount paid is NOT enough to repair your home and personal property. This is often called an underpayment. You should immediately call an experienced attorney if your claim is underpaid or wrongfully denied.
Many other factors play into how and when an insurance company will pay a claim. For example, you may sign an assignment of benefits (AOB) transferring your insurance claims rights or benefits to a general contractor. The AOB allows the general contractor to bill your insurance company instead of billing you. AOBs can be confusing and difficult to understand for homeowners. Always contact an experienced attorney before you sign an AOB or any other form required by your insurance company and/or contractor(s).
Please keep in mind that the above list is NOT complete. It only provides you with an outline for how your insurance company should handle your claim. Undoubtedly, the claims handling process can be overwhelming and confusing. The truth is that most people don’t know what it costs to repair their home completely. This creates an unfair advantage for insurance companies. If you have any doubt about your rights and obligations under your insurance policy, contact an experienced law firm to help you with your claim.
If you decide to fight your insurance company's decision to deny or partially pay your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit. These lawsuits can sometimes take years to complete. Thankfully, our attorneys at PZ Law Firm have experience settling issues with insurance companies quickly. We have successfully represented thousands of homeowners throughout Florida against their insurance companies.
Contact PZ Law Firm today at (407) 500-EZPZ (3979) for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your insurance claim. You may also use the form on our website to submit questions related to your property damage claim. Stay tuned to the PZ Law Firm blog for posts about other common questions related to insurance claims.
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.