How Long Do Home Insurance Claims Take in Florida?

If you have to file an insurance claim in Florida, you’re probably already filled with anxiety about the process, including wondering how long it will take. Unfortunately, the home insurance claims process is very unpredictable and can take weeks, months, and even years to settle completely, depending on the circumstances involved and the claim itself.

The best thing that you can do is learn about the claims process in Florida and what to expect so that you are prepared. 

Florida Statutes on Insurance Claims 

The state of Florida gives insurance companies 90 days (3 months) to notify insured parties whether they have accepted or denied a claim. If they have approved it, they then have 20 days to pay you the agreed-upon settlement amount. 

If the insurer doesn’t pay within this time, they will start to accumulate interest on the money they owe you at a rate of 12% per year. Typically, larger claims will cause insurance companies to use the entire limit, as they’ll want as much time as possible to find ways to deny your claim or reduce the amount of the payout. 

Consumers should also be wary of any vague denials that don’t offer detailed reasons, or that have no reason at all. If your insurance company cannot provide you with an exact, detailed explanation as to why your home insurance claim was denied, you could be the victim of what is known as bad faith insurance practices. 

Time Limits for Homeowners and Other Claims Steps 

Florida allows four years from the date of the incident for people to file a claim with their homeowners’ insurance company. It’s important to file the claim promptly to maximize the settlement and preserve any evidence involved. Usually, most people file home insurance claims within a matter of days of the incident, or weeks at the most. However, any claims filed beyond the four-year mark will likely be denied entirely. 

Florida also allows 14 days for providers to acknowledge that they received a claim from an insured party. They must provide you with a copy of the Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, which states that homeowners have the right to:

  • Receive acknowledgment of the claim within 14 days of filing.
  • Receive confirmation of approval or denial within 30 days of proof of loss statement submission, or if further investigation is required. 
  • Receive partial or full payment or a denial within 90 days of the filing. 
  • Earn interest on the claim payment if it is not made within the first 90 days. 
  • Receive free assistance and mediation from the Florida Department of Financial Services
  • Receive a neutral evaluation related to a disputed claim with sinkhole damage that should be covered. 

Along with confirmation of your claim, the insurance provider needs to give you the proper forms and documents to fill out to submit your claim and start the process of determining a settlement. Once you have submitted all the forms, including proof of loss statements, the insurer has 10 days to start an investigation if they feel it is required. 

Important Tips for Filing a Claim 

The biggest reason claims get denied or held up is that most homeowners just don’t know what to do when they need to file a homeowners insurance claim in Florida. If you want to make sure that you have the best chances of getting your claim paid in full to a satisfactory amount, you will want to make sure that you follow the tips below:

  • Document all damage sustained on the property and to your personal belongings. 
  • Do not discard anything until the insurance inspector has performed their inspection. 
  • Make temporary repairs or short-term fixes to prevent further damage only
  • Obtain a claim reference number for easy communication with the insurance company. 
  • Save receipts related to damage, including those for repairs, hotel stays, and other costs. 
  • Fill out all the claims forms in full. If you have questions, ask the insurance company for clarification. 
  • Make sure that you find out if your adjuster is with the insurance company or if they’re an independent contractor—it makes a difference. 

Unfortunately, as much as homeowners would like to believe that they’ll get their claims settled and paid appropriately if they file them correctly, that’s not always the case. Even all the right moves and information can result in a claim denial, a lower settlement offer, or a request for further investigation that could delay the settlement process. 

If at any point you feel like you want an independent review of your situation or claim status, you should talk to an expert that can provide an assessment of where things stand and how they can help you get more out of your claim. 

Common Reasons for Homeowners Insurance Claims Denials 

There is any number of reasons that a homeowners insurance claim could be denied, but there are some that are more common than others. To make sure that your claim is honored, you will want to make sure that your home insurance is in order and your coverage hasn’t lapsed. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not trying to file a claim for something that was excluded or required additional coverage that you may not have. 

Common reasons that Florida home insurance claims are denied include everything from a lack of documentation to not having the right coverage, missed deadlines or payments, and more. 

No Coverage

If you file a home insurance claim for something that you aren’t covered against, the claim will be denied. This is usually the quickest and most definite denial that homeowners receive, but it’s one that you don’t want to risk. Make sure that you have the right coverage, including additional coverage for things like floods, fire, hurricane and wind damage, etc. so that your claim isn’t denied. 

Lapsed Coverage Due to Non-Payment 

If your home insurance payment is past due and your coverage has lapsed as a result, incidents that occur during the time of lapsed coverage will not be paid out as claims. Make sure you keep up with your home insurance payments so you don’t run into this issue. Some mortgage lenders require home insurance to be paid through escrow, which avoids this issue altogether. 

Missed Deadlines 

As seen above, there are certain timelines and deadlines involved in filing a home insurance claim. If you happen to miss those deadlines or take too long to file forms, it could impact whether or not your claim gets paid or gets paid in full. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you need to notify the insurance company of the claim as soon as possible to get the best odds of getting a fair settlement. 

Misrepresentation or Failure to Disclose 

Lying on an insurance claim isn’t just a bad idea—it’s against the law. Not only that but when you can’t provide proof of value, you may not be able to get the claim approved, or it may be approved for less than you anticipated. Adjusters will need as much information as possible to validate the claim. If the information is missing or falsified, it will result in a denial and the related damage will be up to you to repair. 

Poor Documentation

Documentation is everything in an insurance claim. You need to document all the damage related to your insurance claim, including by taking photos and/or video where relevant. The insurance company needs as much information as possible to make a determination and failing to provide it can result in claim denials and delays. 

Failure to Secure the Issue 

Almost all home insurance companies require people to take the necessary steps to prevent future damage from occurring. While you shouldn’t do major repairs until the claim is approved, you need to stop the current damage. For example, if you have a roof leak and don’t place a tarp over the damaged area to prevent further water penetration, the insurance company could deny your claim because the damage went beyond what you originally claimed. 

These are just a handful of the reasons that home insurance claims in Florida get denied. Ideally, if you have everything in order and aren’t dealing with one of these issues for denial, you should be able to get your claim settled and paid within 90 to 180 days in Florida. If further investigation is required and that extends the timeline, the insurance provider will need to prove that the time was required for further review of the information to make an appropriate determination on the status of the claim. 

Get a Professional Review of Your Home Insurance Claim in Florida

If you have filed a Florida home insurance claim and you want to make sure that you get the maximum settlement, it can help to have a professional review your claim. The third-party experts at On Target Claims can provide you with a free consult and claim review to ensure that you’re getting the best settlement and that your case is expedited so that you aren’t waiting months, or even years, to get paid. 

On Target Claims can make sure that you have someone on your side through the Florida home insurance claims process. No matter how big or small your claim may be, you deserve someone to help you get the best outcome. Even if your insurance company isn’t being helpful, you aren’t alone. Contact us for a free claim review today and find out how we can help expedite your home insurance claim. 

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