Frequently Asked Questions: Florida Insurance Claims
Answers to Common Questions
If you have recently sustained property damage after a natural disaster or related circumstance, then Givens Givens Sparks is here to assist. One of the ways we want to help is by providing answers to some of the most common questions people have after they undergo property damage. For direct assistance, please do not hesitate to call a Florida insurance claim attorney immediately.
HOW DO I BEGIN THE CLAIMS PROCESS?To begin the claims process, you will need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will schedule an investigation/inspection of your property and assign an adjuster to your case. You can contact your insurance company by phone and many insurance companies also provide an online claim filing service.
WHAT IF I DON'T HEAR BACK FROM MY INSURANCE COMPANY?This is one of the possible indicators of insurance bad faith. Your insurance company must promptly respond to your request for a claim per your policy agreement. If you have been faithful to pay your monthly premiums, then your insurance company should be responding to you. If they do not, you can take legal action with the help of an attorney.
SHOULD I ACCEPT MY INSURANCE COMPANY'S FIRST SETTLEMENT OFFER?It may be difficult to determine what is a "just" or "reasonable" settlement offer. In sum, your insurance company is required to compensate you per your policy agreement after an accurate and thorough assessment of damages. Particularly after a natural disaster, your insurance company will be experiencing a spike in claims filed. Since they do not want to lose money, they may attempt to cut corners and offer their policyholders lower settlement amounts than they actually deserve. Should you accept a first offer? This varies from case to case.
IF I DISAGREE WITH MY INSURANCE COMPANY, WILL THE CASE GO TO COURT?If you disagree with your insurance company's settlement offer or their denial of your claim, you may or may not end up in court. You can file an appeal for reconsideration and a review of your case. If the insurance company is refusing to change their unfavorable answer still, you can end up going to court. If you secure the help of an attorney, that attorney can possibly assist with a bad faith lawsuit. If successful, this could result in an award of punitive damages.
HOW DO SINKHOLES OCCUR?Florida has many areas below ground that are composed of limestone, which may dissolve after rains. It also has areas of cavities in rock formation that can collapse after heavy rains. Through manmade as well as natural causes, such as construction and withdrawal of groundwater, collapses in recent years have become more common. The sinkholes can be large or small, depending on the underlying limestone and cavities.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE A SINKHOLE PROBLEM ON MY PROPERTY?It can often be seen that your property may have cracked walls, floors, walkways or sagging in a fence line or windows and doors. Vegetation in your yard that appears to be wilted in a circular shape may indicate a sinkhole beneath. After a rain, small water puddles may appear in areas where they did not exist before.
DOES MY HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE COVER SINKHOLE DAMAGE?Yes, by law in the state of Florida, your insurance company is required to have coverage for this type of loss. They must investigate any claim presented to them by you for damage caused by a sinkhole, even if it is unknown that this is the actual cause when first reported. Once it is determined that any damage was caused by a sinkhole, it must pay for repairs.
How can an attorney help with this type of claim?
And finally, the answer to the most important questions: a Florida insurance claim lawyer from Givens Givens Sparks can fight to see that your insurance company performs the necessary tests and inspections to fully determine the extent of possible damage to your home. Determining the exact extent of the loss can help define your lost property damage as well as help in prevention of future damage should the ground under your home be unstable. Our firm will only recover your fee once we make sure that you have been compensated for your loss through a settlement with your insurance company or a court judgment against them.
The process of filing a claim or lawsuit can be complex, and insurance companies often deny certain types of valid claims or offer a low settlement in the hopes that you will accept it. Fortunately, our firm never relents until you receive a fair settlement or verdict. How do you know what amount is fair?
That is where our team of lawyers can help. There are many types of damages that are possible in any injury case, and evaluating your case before moving forward is a key factor in the amount of the settlement you will receive. We are well versed in all aspects of personal injury law and know how to present your case in a way that brings about the optimum results.