What are the Essential Steps for Filing a Home Insurance Claim in Florida?

If your home has been damaged in any type of event, you may find yourself filing a home insurance claim. This is something that should be done as soon as possible to guarantee that you get the maximum compensation for the damages caused and get your home and life back in order. 

Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. Insurance companies are notorious for dragging their feet and making people jump through hoops to get claims paid. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to understand the process for filing a Florida home insurance claim. You can also enlist the help of public insurance adjusters to fight on your behalf, but it still helps if you’re informed and know what to expect.

The Home Insurance Claims Process in Florida

In Florida, the process for filing a home insurance claim starts the second that the damage is discovered. The following steps will ensure that your claims process goes smoothly and that you get the maximum compensation for your losses. Florida also has a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights to help protect homeowners in the state from deceptive and unprofessional insurance practices. 

Step 1 – Contact Authorities and/or the Insurance Company 

Depending on the cause of the damage, there are different people that need to be notified. If you have a house fire, for example, you’ll want to call 911 right away, and then contact your insurance company once the fire is out and everyone is safe. If the damage is due to vandalism or a break-in, call the police and file a report before you call your insurance company. 

It’s also a good idea to keep a record of any police officers or other emergency personnel that you speak to so that you can provide this information along with your claim. Always make sure that everyone is safe and that the event causing the damage is over before you bother reaching out to your insurance company. 

Step 2 – Document All Damages 

The next thing that you need to do, as soon as it is safe to do so, is to start documenting the damage. This should include any property that was lost or damaged, such as electronics or jewelry stolen during a break-in, or the total loss of all your furniture due to a house fire. If you can, take photos and videos of the damage and create an inventory of what was lost or affected by the event. 

The more information you have about what was damaged in the incident, the more likely it is that you will get fair compensation for your claim. It may also help you later if you end up filing a lawsuit because the insurance company won’t pay. 

*Important Note: Don’t throw anything away until or unless the insurance company says it’s okay to do so. Even items that can’t be salvaged should be kept to support the claim. 

Step 3 – Temporary Repairs 

If you are dealing with damage to your home or business that keeps it from being habitable or safe, you may need to have temporary repairs done. This could vary from putting a tarp on a damaged roof to boarding up windows until the glass can be replaced. Save all the receipts for any temporary repairs and take pictures of them for your records. That way, you can include them in your claim and show the insurance company you did your part to stop the damage. 

Step 4 – Meet the Adjuster 

Once the claim has been filed, the insurance company will usually send an adjuster out to look at the damage and prepare an estimate for their records. They will ensure that the damage is covered, explain what coverage you do and don’t have, and verify that your claim information is accurate. They may also interview you and others in the home to get more details, so make sure that you provide them with all the information that they need. 

Be careful not to admit fault or disclose any type of information that could put your claim in jeopardy. It’s stressful when you are filing a home insurance claim and it can be easy to slip up, but remember that the insurance company is looking out for themselves first. If they can find a way to avoid paying, they will. Be professional, honest, and direct with the adjuster and try to avoid small talk or personal discussions that could come back to haunt you. 

Step 5 – Get Contractor Estimates

If you have repairs that need to be done as a result of the claim that you’ve filed, you will now need to start reaching out to get estimates from contractors. This will be happening while you are waiting to hear from the insurance company regarding whether they’re paying the claim and what they will cover. That way, you have estimates ready and know what you need before you’re given a settlement offer. 

When you know what you need and what you are owed, it’s far less likely that the insurance company will get away with giving you a lowball offer for your home insurance claim.

Step 6 – Get Your Settlement and Get Your Property Back 

In an ideal situation, your claim will be settled and you will be given a settlement offer that is fair and just. Then, you will be able to accept the settlement and get the money you are owed. Once you have the money in hand, you can start paying contractors, replacing personal property, and taking care of whatever else needs to be addressed after your home insurance claim. 

If you’ve done things according to this list and you have submitted all the documents and information properly, you should have no trouble getting a fair settlement. However, not all insurance companies start their offers in the “fair” range, so feel free to negotiate for a better offer. You can also hire a public insurance adjuster to handle the insurance company on your behalf and make sure that things are handled expediently. 

When Should I File a Home Insurance Claim in Florida?

Florida home insurance claims can help pay for repairs, damaged or stolen property, and other expenses related to covered events. However, they can take a long time to settle if you aren’t prepared and they can cause insurance rates to increase. Plus, homeowners will have to pay their deductible before the insurance policy starts covering the incident in question. 

Some experts say you shouldn’t bother filing a claim unless the losses are at least twice your deductible. However, everyone’s situation is different. If you think that you have enough of a loss to warrant a claim, file one. If you’d like a second opinion, you can also reach out to a public insurance adjuster for a review of your case to determine the best course of action. 

Tips for Ensuring a Successful Home Insurance Claim in Florida

Home insurance claims are rarely a cut-and-dry process. They take time, a lot of back-and-forths, and the dedication of homeowners who are not going to let insurance companies settle for less than they deserve. Here are some tips to ensure that your home insurance claim goes smoothly and expediently:

  • File your claim as soon as possible. This will ensure that there is no discrepancy between what caused the damage and whether the claim is valid. 
  • Document all damage in as many ways as possible. This includes a list of items, their value, pictures and videos, and other information. If you have receipts for high-value items, keep those with your claim paperwork, too. 
  • Make temporary repairs as soon as possible. Any further damages may not be covered by the insurance policy because you should have put these measures in place. 
  • Save all receipts and get all estimates in writing. That way, when the insurance company calls to settle, you know what’s a “good” settlement or whether they’re trying to lowball you. 
  • Know your insurance policy. If you know your coverage and limits, as well as what events are included and other details, it will be easier for you to get through the claims filing process and less likely the insurance company will try to pull one over on you. 

While the insurance company is usually going to cover your claim, they will also be looking out for themselves first. That means they don’t want to pay more than they have to, which is why you have to know how to hold them accountable. 

Contact the Public Insurance Adjusters at On Target Claims 

On Target Claims has been in the business of holding insurance companies accountable for several years now. We know the Florida home insurance claims process inside and out. Our team of experts has years of experience fighting for our clients to help them get the compensation that they deserve for their claims. 

Our public insurance adjusters can walk you through the home insurance claims process and help you understand what to expect from your Florida home insurance claim, whether it’s for a small incident or major storm damage. Plus, we’ll work on your behalf to communicate with the insurance company and make sure that you get the maximum settlement, no matter what the details of your claim might be. 

At On Target Claims, we know that your time is valuable and when you’re dealing with a home insurance claim, you already have a lot on your plate. That’s why we’re here to help. Reach out today to find out how On Target Claims can make your claims process simpler and get the best outcome in your favor. 

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