The Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance claim lawyers at Bernstein Polsky work closely with families and individuals whose homes have been damaged after a hurricane, fire, flood, or due to another natural disaster. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2021 alone there were 20 different storms resulting each in over a billion dollars in damages. As climate change worsens, weather events are likely to become more severe. Already NOAA reports that 2021 was the third costliest year since these disasters have been tracked and recorded. Of all the kinds of storms that can cause damage, hurricanes cause the most expensive damages. Unfortunately, Florida is especially vulnerable to these incredibly damaging storms.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, many homes in a given area are damaged at once, creating something of a challenge for homeowner’s insurance companies to get adjusters to each site, and to get claims paid. In the past, homeowners could find themselves waiting a long time for a claim to be settled or paid. New laws and tighter regulations make it that insurance companies have 90 days from when a proof of loss statement was submitted to pay out a claim. Any amount that remains unpaid after the 90-day period could be subject to interest rates. Despite Homeowner’s Claims Bill of Rights which requires that insurance companies remain in contact with homeowners and pay claims promptly, individuals sometimes still have trouble settling their claims or receiving the payment they may believe they deserve.
Sometimes insurance adjusters offer homeowner’s lower settlement amounts hoping that they’ll accept these lower claims. And sometimes insurance adjusters dispute certain aspects of a claim. If you are having difficulty with your homeowner’s insurance claim, if your claim remains unpaid, or was denied, or underpaid, the Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance claim lawyers at Bernstein Polsky may be able to help you. Reach out to our lawyers today.
What is My Homeowner’s Insurance Claim Worth?
Most typical homeowner’s insurance policies protect you from losses stemming from natural disasters like hurricanes or wind damage, accidents, theft, fires, and some other natural disasters. Homeowner’s insurance policies can shield you from losses related to damage to the structure of your home; lost, damaged, or stolen property, belongings, and furniture; and any liabilities you might face if a person was injured while in your property.
The value of your homeowner’s insurance claim will depend on the kind of policy you have, whether there are significant exclusions associated with your policy, what kind of property coverage you have purchased (actual cash value coverage versus replacement cost coverage), and your deductible. Determining the value of your homeowner’s insurance claim involves understanding your policy in full, reading the fine print, understanding the kind of documentation you’ll need to provide, and getting proper estimates of the value of damages to your property.
If you aren’t sure what your damages are worth, or if you disagree with your insurance adjuster about what your settlement should be worth, you may have the right to appeal your claim. The Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance lawyers at Bernstein Polsky may be able to assist you. Our lawyers can review your contractor’s estimates, look closely at your policy to make sure that you are making claims for everything covered under your policy, and negotiate with insurance adjusters to help you get the settlement you may deserve under the law.
Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost Coverage
One thing that can affect the value of your homeowner’s insurance claim is whether your coverage protects you for the actual cash value of damaged property or covers the replacement cost. Both actual cash value and replacement cost coverage will protect you from losses if property within your home was damaged or stolen, the amount of money you’ll actually receive for these losses will vary depending on the type of coverage you had.
- Actual Cash Value. With actual cash value coverage, an insurance adjuster will take into account depreciation when determining your settlement amount. If a 5-year old computer was damaged in a hurricane, under an actual cash value coverage, you won’t be given money to cover the cost of a new computer, but rather, you’ll receive the amount of money that insurance adjusters determine would be the amount you would need to pay to buy a similar 5-year old computer. Usually with actual cash value policies, the amount of money you’ll receive will be less than the amount to replace the item new. However, how adjusters determine the value of certain items can have an immense difference in the value of your settlement. A Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance lawyer at Bernstein Polsky can take a close look at what the actual cash value of your items is, provide documentation to support these values, and fight to help you get the best possible settlement under the law.
- Replacement Cost Coverage. If you have replacement cost coverage, you may be able to receive money to buy a new version of an item you have lost. If your computer was stolen for example, and you have replacement cost coverage, your insurance settlement would reimburse you with money to buy a new computer of similar make or model. You may be required to submit receipts to your insurance company to prove that you purchased the items you claimed. Replacement cost coverage may also apply if your home was completely damaged during a hurricane or storm. If you need to rebuild, under replacement cost coverage, your costs of rebuilding will be covered to build a home using similar quality materials. Keeping a record of high value items in your home, and any improvements you have made to your home—such as remodeling using expensive cabinets—can make a difference during the claims process.
The type of coverage you have will make a difference on the type of claim you can make. If you aren’t sure what type of policy you have, or what is or isn’t covered, a Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance claim lawyer at Bernstein Polsky may be able to help you. Our lawyers can also appeal a denied or underpaid claim. Reach out to our homeowners insurance lawyers today.
Contact a Boca Raton, Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Lawyer
A Boca Raton, Florida homeowner’s insurance lawyer can review the fine print of your homeowners’ insurance policy, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and take insurance companies to court if your claim has been wrongfully denied or if the insurance company was acting in bad faith. Insurance companies have an obligation to pay claims and honor your policy in a timely manner. If insurance adjusters misrepresent your policy, lie to you about what is or isn’t covered, or fail to pay your claim in a timely manner, you may have rights under the law. The homeowner’s insurance lawyers in Boca Raton, Florida at Bernstein Polsky may be able to help you. Our lawyers can stand beside you every step of the way as you appeal a claim or help you navigate the claims process in court, if needed. You don’t have to appeal a denied or underpaid homeowner’s insurance claim in Boca Raton, Florida alone. Contact Bernstein Polsky today.