Investigating Rising Costs In Homeowner Insurance
Florida’s new statewide insurance consumer advocate, Sha’Ron James, is investigating the rising costs in homeowner insurance for 2016 in the tri-county area. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the largest property insurance company in Florida, stated that it decided to raise local premiums (despite the fact that policyholders in other parts of the state will receive decreased rates) because of the inflated claims for damages and lawsuits in the local market.
James requested that the top 15 insurers in South Florida document these allegations that water damage claims unrelated to weather are rapidly increasing. She hopes to have this information within 30 days. Insurance companies have made complaints about the rising number of claims for the past three years. The legislature has introduced bills over the last three years to restrict the rights of homeowners to sign over homeowners’ insurance policy benefits, but none have been successful yet. It is expected that more bills will be introduced in the future. Experts on the other side, such as local public adjusters, lawyers, and damage repair companies, claim that the insurance companies delay investigation of claims, which may lead to the insurers offering to pay far less than the actual cost of fully repairing the damage.
What does your insurance policy typically cover?
Your homeowners’ insurance policy will likely have limits on coverage for certain valuable personal property like jewelry, guns, antiques, boats, silverware, or cash. It is important to keep an inventory of your personal property so that you can request additional coverage if needed.
It is also important to know whether your policy covers replacement cost versus actual cash value of your property. Replacement cost is the amount you need to replace (or repair) the damaged property without taking depreciation into account. Actual cash value is the amount you need to replace or repair the item minus depreciation.
Another consideration to keep in mind is whether local ordinances or laws have changed since you originally applied for coverage. If these ordinances require an increased cost to replace or repair your home, your insurance company may not cover the excess amount (unless you have a policy that includes these types of changes). It may be possible to purchase increased insurance to cover this scenario.
Negotiating with insurance companies can be difficult. Making a claim on your policy can involve a lot of time and effort, which can be a frustrating process. Policies can be confusing and involve lots of back and forth communication with your insurance company. Rising costs in local insurance may not lead to increased levels of coverage for you and your home. If you have made a claim on your policy and feel that you are being treated unfairly by your insurance company, the advice of a seasoned team of insurance lawyers is invaluable. Every situation is unique, and each policy may require critical analysis from a legal professional. The Miami lawyers at Pita Weber & Del Prado are available to advise you of your rights. Call 305-670-2889 today for a free consultation.