How Your Insurance Company Underpaid Your Hurricane Insurance Claim
Following a hurricane, flood, or another natural disaster, you expect your insurance company to assist in paying for all of the damage done. After all, you did purchase homeowners insurance thinking that in the case of a catastrophic event, the insurance company would cover the damage done—returning your home to its pre-loss condition.
That’s what an insurance company is there for, right?
Sadly, many insurance companies have a hard time holding up to their end of the bargain—in this case, staying true to the expectations promised. You may have been told during your initial inspection that the insurance company would be “taking care of everything.”
Flash forward a few weeks, you receive a check in the mail which is drastically lower than the quote you were given by the insurance company.
When this happens, there are a few common tactics insurance companies use to try to pay out at little as possible. Some of these schemes are:
Denying claims based on pre-existing damage - When this happens, the insurance company will try to deny that the damage done was from the catastrophic event. In addition, they will also sometimes claim that the damage existed before the insurance policy was in place, stating that they aren’t responsible for paying out for the damage.
Adding on high hurricane deductibles - As if the situation wasn’t traumatic enough having your home and belongings stripped from you, the insurance companies will add a much higher than normal deductible following a hurricane or named storm. For example, your deductible may be $1,500 for an event not related to a hurricane or named storm. However, following a named storm or hurricane, that deductible may go up to as high as 10% of your overall plan value—making that number closer to $25,000.
Depreciating the value of your property - In Florida, insurance companies only have to pay out the Actual Cash Value (ACV) for your losses. The ACV is essentially the value of what you would be able to sell the item for in cash, think garage sale or eBay. If you repaired or replaced the items, the insurance company would then have an obligation to pay the Replacement Cost Value (RCV) for your items. The insurance company takes the RCV and subtracts the estimated depreciation, giving them the ACV which is what they pay out. This is where things get tricky, because what you feel the value of your belongings may be and what the insurance company quotes them for tend to be vastly different—causing this to be the beginning of many disputes.
The legalities of seeking compensation for the damage done to your home can be quite tricky to navigate through, it’s recommended to have an experienced legal professional assist you. If you found yourself the victim of being taken advantage of by your insurance company, please reach out for help. We will fight for you!
Call us today at (786) 661-3111 to speak with our Florida property damage insurance attorneys.