This week, we’re going to review homeowners insurance claims arising from fire damage to your house. Despite accepting premiums and issuing policies, insurance companies in Florida commonly deny coverage for fire damage. There are different reasons an insurance company may give for denying your claim, but some are not valid. An insurance company may be engaging in bad faith insurance practices when denying valid claims, especially if they are denying those claims solely to increase profits.
Here are some of the common reasons for fire claim denials or underpayment:
Arson/Fraud: Insurance companies may allege that arson caused the fire and that the claimant is somehow responsible for it. Fraud in the claim process can also result in a denial (e.g., someone claiming they lost a Steinway grand piano in the fire when they really did not own a piano).
Unpermitted Work on the Property: Your insurer might claim that a free-standing shed, addition to your home or other structure located on your property didn’t have the correct building permits on file when it was constructed.
Policy Limits: It’s important to understand the limits of the coverage you’ve purchased. If you’ve made home improvements but not purchased more coverage, your claim might be underpaid. Most policies cover household items and personal property, but it's important to consider purchasing additional insurance in the event you have items like expensive antiques, electronic equipment or rare art in your residence.
Non-Payment of Premiums: The insurer might claim that you failed to make your premium payments or there was coverage lapse because you supposedly made a late payment. Retaining detailed payment records helps prevent this type of claim denial.
A fire can destroy your piece of the American Dream in a matter of moments. Before you sign any settlement agreement with your insurance company, reach out to us for assistance.