What Exactly Is A First-Party Insurance Claim?
A first-party insurance claim is any claim against an insurance carrier for property damage that occurs at a commercial or residential building. It can be water, wind, fire, national disaster, accidents, or robbery. Certain types of policies specifically cover any loss except for those that are expressly excluded. We refer to those as All-Risks policies, which is an HO3 policy. Those are typically the best policies to have and are the kind of policies that we advise property owners in Florida to seek.
When we say “First Party,” it is a breach of contract action, and we’re representing the homeowner directly against the carrier. An example of a third-party dispute would be a lawyer representing a roofing company against the insured’s carrier pursuant to an assignment of benefits or letter of protection.
Understanding the intricacies of a first-party insurance claim can be daunting. In Florida, the process is governed by specific rules and regulations. Some policyholders may need clarification on the exact steps to take, but help is available. Legal professionals specialized in first-party insurance disputes can assist property owners in making the most of their insurance claims. These experts can guide you through the process, ensuring that all necessary documents are properly filled out and provide representation in case the insurance company denies the claim.
Insurance disputes can be stressful, especially when dealing with property damage that needs immediate attention. That’s why seeking professional help can be instrumental in not only filing the claim but also in managing the follow-up and possible litigation process. They can help homeowners address the complexities and challenges associated with the claim process, leading to potentially better outcomes and smoother resolution.
How Often Are First-Party Property Damage Claims Filed In Florida? Why So Many?
A report from the Office of Insurance Regulation found Florida accounted for over 76% of all homeowner’s litigation in the United States in 2019. However, while Florida exceeded the rest of the nation in homeowners’ insurance litigation, the state accounted for only 8% of homeowners’ insurance claims nationwide. So, that means that many denied claims are not being pursued, and in Florida, it’s 92%: 92% of all insurance claims are not disputed in Florida.
There are many people in this state, so there are many homeowners, and there are many weather events. Combined with an excess of water, this leads to many claims. However, as previously mentioned, only a tiny percentage of all claims are challenged and litigated. We think most people don’t want to deal with the trouble of being involved in litigation, and many have no idea that there are attorneys out there who can take these cases on a contingency basis and do not charge a retainer or hourly rate.
How To File A First-Party Insurance Claim In Florida
Usually, it’s a relatively straightforward process to file a first-party insurance claim. You give the carrier notice of a loss, and the insurance company sends out an adjuster to inspect the loss. By contract and by Florida law, the insurance company has 90 days after they receive notice to investigate a claim and make a claim determination. However, there are extenuating circumstances that can allow that period to be prolonged. There are also some new laws that slightly extend this period to give the insurance company a chance to take a second look if the claim is being challenged. Each insurance company has a different process of reporting a claim. Some are by phone, and some are through the website on the internet. So homeowners shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves to ensure they get everything right, such as the exact date of loss when the weather event occurred. Those can all be changed once the claim is in the attorney’s hands, and we oftentimes will fix any mistakes made during the adjustment process. It’s just important to make sure the claim is filed with the insurance company as soon as possible. As soon as a property owner knows about the damage, they need to report it immediately.
Are Property Owners Generally Successful Right Off-The-Bat Filing That First-Party Insurance Claim The First Time?
Insurance companies like to find ways to deny claims. More often than not, they will find a way to deny it and not pay, so homeowners shouldn’t take it personally. Even if it’s the first time filing a claim, carriers will likely not approve it initially.
What Common Struggles Property Do Owners Face In Florida When It Comes To Filing And Being Successful With First-Party Insurance Claims?
Delay by the insurance carrier can be one of the most frustrating issues when filing a first-party insurance claim. This can be especially troubling because you’re already experiencing damage to your home. In Florida, it rains a lot, and if you have water damage inside your home due to a windstorm that severely damaged your roof if you don’t get that roof replaced right away, the damage is going to continue to get worse.