If your home has been damaged by water, fire, wind, a falling tree or a thief, you already feel victimized by those events. The last thing you expected or need is to be victimized a second time by the insurance company when they underpay your legitimate claim. Unacceptable? Of course it is—and as a policyholder who has diligently paid their premiums, you have good cause to be upset and the right to dispute the underpayment. Here’s what you can do if you feel you haven’t received the full benefit for your loss:
Review your contract
Make sure you know what your policy says is and isn’t covered. Start by reading your “declarations page,” which outlines the various coverage categories, including Coverage A) Dwellings; Coverage B) Other structures (such as a detached garage or garden shed); Coverage C) Personal property; and Coverage D) Liability and medical payments. It’s important to know not just what is covered, but also the policy limitations and deductibles.
It’s highly recommended that you review your policy on a regular basis, particularly if you have made significant home improvements or renovations or have purchased a new computer or other piece of electronic equipment. If you have jewelry, antiques or expensive furniture, you will need a rider to ensure that it’s covered. By knowing what’s covered and for how much in your current policy, you have the opportunity to make appropriate changes and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Don’t be afraid to ask the insurance company how they calculated your claim amount
Your main contact with your insurance company will be with the claims adjuster. Whether the adjuster is an employee of the company or a contractor, they represent the insurance company and as such, their best interests. However, they still owe you, as the policyholder, an explanation as to how they came up with the claim amount. Ask the adjuster to itemize the damages and explain how they came up with their numbers. Do not let them pressure you into having your statement recorded or signing off on a settlement amount that you feel is unfair.
Get a lawyer
An experienced Orlando insurance dispute attorney will present the evidence and proof needed to establish the full value of your claim and help you get the full and fair amount that you are due. Wrongful underpayment or violations of your contract are bad faith issues for which the insurance company can be sued. Your attorney represents your best interests and, if the insurance company is found to have acted in bad faith, they are responsible for paying all your legal fees.
Put an experienced Florida property insurance attorney on your side
By paying your premiums and filing a legitimate claim, you’ve lived up to your end of the bargain. The skilled attorneys of Johnson & Williams, P.A. help make sure that your insurance company lives up to their end of the bargain, too. If your claim has been underpaid, talk to us. We have helped clients throughout the Orlando area get full and fair compensation for their property claims. Please contact us online or call our office at (407) 245-1268 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs.