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  • Writer's pictureKyle Staggs

Filing a Property Insurance Claim in Florida: Will I Get Dropped?

Updated: May 30



Trying to navigate a property insurance claim can be a stress-inducing process when the very roof over your head is at stake, not to mention all the other assets that make your house a home. By dedicating time to thoroughly document your home and the damage it has suffered, you arm yourself with a powerful negotiating tool. Although your goal is to be made whole again and secure a fair settlement from your insurance company, it's a common fear that they will drop you or significantly increase your rates due to the accidental loss.

 

Let me put your mind at ease: It's unlikely to be dropped by your insurance company following a claim. Thankfully Florida law, and a skilled claims lawyer, can help protect your interests during the claims process. Please don't panic, take prudent steps including satisfying your duty after loss, and you are poised to come through the property insurance claim process and restore things back to pre-loss condition.  


Today, Kyle Staggs, Esq. explains what to truly expect when filing your property insurance claim in Florida.  




What Are the Grounds for an Insurance Company to Drop a Policyholder in Florida? 


Filing a claim doesn't automatically result in you being dropped by your insurance company. However, there are various grounds which can lead an insurance company to drop a policyholder in Florida. These reasons can range broadly from breaking the terms of the policy, lying or being fraudulent, to having an excessive history of claims.  


  • The first ground relates to your policy standing. If your policy isn't in good standing, perhaps due to late payments, an insurance company can use that as a reason to drop your coverage. Keeping your payments on time and maintaining a good record can help you avoid this scenario.  

 

  • Additionally, if your insurance company determines that you've lied (or even 'misspoke') or made fraudulent claims in the past, your current claim can be denied and the Insurer may choose to drop you.  

Neglecting property maintenance is another reason that property owners may ultimately end up dropped by their policyholder. An insurance company can deny your claim if they determine that the damage occurred as a result of neglect towards regular maintenance on your property. Regular care and upkeep of your property demonstrate responsibility and reduces the insurance company's risk. If they feel you aren't taking care of the residence, they are more likely to cancel your insurance.  


Is it Common for Insurance Companies to Drop Policyholders After a Single Claim in Florida? 


It isn't common but can happen. Around here, the nature of the claim can be viewed as red flags by insurers; this includes those related to water damage or mold. These claims often indicate larger, ongoing issues that could lead to more claims in the future. (Not something insurance agencies tend to like.) 


Policyholders may also be dropped if they are found to have misrepresented or omitted information on their insurance application. If an insurer discovers that a policyholder has not been truthful about their property or its condition, it may choose to cancel the policy. 


While it's unlikely the insurance company will drop you after one claim, they will factor in the long-term impact and watch how often you file claims. If your insurance claims history is deemed excessive, it could increase your risk profile, leading to a higher chance of your coverage being canceled.  


How Often Do Insurance Companies Drop Policyholders After a Claim in Florida? 


Insurance companies understand that unexpected incidents happen - it's why homeowners insurance exists in the first place. However, the frequency and nature of the claims you file can indeed influence your insurer's decision to continue your coverage or to raise your premiums.  


Generally, if you don't file claims often and keep an otherwise clean record, insurance companies won't be quick to drop your policy. Consider this a kind of 'goodwill' system.


Regular, small claims, however, can be red flags for insurers. They might signify to them that you're a high-risk policyholder. Major claims such as those resulting from uncontrollable elements like natural disasters AKA an “Act of God” on property insurance policies may not be used as a cause for cancellation or nonrenewal.  


It's unlikely to be dropped after filing a single claim.  Insurance companies in Florida may however consider you a 'high-risk' policyholder in the future.

As a rule of thumb, the more claims you file, the higher the likelihood of your policy being in jeopardy. It's currently estimated that around 10% of homeowners were dropped after filing multiple insurance claims in a short time, but thankfully most of these property owners can find new insurance within six months.  


But bear in mind, this isn't solely a numbers game. Factors such reliability of your account, the nature and cost of your unique claims, and how long you've been a policyholder can also come into play. How this precisely operates may also depend on the individual company's protocol.  


So, don't let the common misconception that filing just one insurance claim will lead to an automatic policy cancellation scare you because it's not quite so rigid. That said, it's pertinent to keep an open line of communication with your insurer, and to comprehend your policy's terms and conditions thoroughly. 

 




What Legal Protections Do Florida Homeowners Have Against Being Dropped by Their Insurance Company?  


As a homeowner in Florida, you've got some legal buffers aimed precisely at keeping you protected. Most of these safeguards come through certain statutes and regulations in place which limit how and when an insurer can drop a policyholder. While insurance companies have the right to not renew policies, specific conditions must be met prior to this decision.  


For example, if you've been with your insurer for a considerable length of time - in Florida, that's three years or more - the insurer can't drop your policy unless there are significant changes in risk factors associated with your property or if the insurer ceases to write that specific line of insurance. Interestingly, the law-specific to Florida-also places a restriction that, in most cases, insurance companies cannot cancel your policy simply because you made a single claim.  


Moreover, adding an extra layer of protection, insurance companies can't drop you while you're dealing with a loss. Post-claim, there is a restriction period where they cannot non-renew your policy, essentially spoiling their chance to leave you high and dry immediately following a significant loss.  


An essential point to note here is that your insurance generally owes to restore your property to its pre-loss condition, meaning it should put you back exactly where you were before the loss occurred. This is regardless of how extensive the damage may have been. So, whether you're facing a burglary aftermath, a major storm damage, or a fire incident, their goal would typically be to get you back on your feet, financially speaking. After all, that's the whole point of insurance in the first place. 


In case of a dispute between you and the insurance company, you can try to remedy the dispute with the help of the Florida Department of Financial Services 'Policyholders Guide to Mediation'.  But in many cases, you will need to resort to the courtroom to ensure your treatment is fair at every step along the way, with the end game of the most settlement monies to return to pre-loss condition.  


Can Hiring an Attorney Affect the Outcome of My Property Insurance Claim in Florida? 


Definitely. Hiring an attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your property insurance claim in Florida. 


Imagine: You've recently experienced major damage to your property like a hurricane or fire, and you've filed a claim for this loss. Insurance companies, however, may employ delay tactics, hoping you’ll accept a lower offer out of desperation. Here, legal counsel can push for the timely processing of your claim to prevent further damage to your property.  


A skilled lawyer can help navigate complex claims, ensure that your rights are protected, and assist in negotiations with insurance companies.  Besides, your attorney would also help to ensure that insurance companies fulfill their obligation of restoring your property to its pre-loss condition, helping you recover financially. We will also fight for you in case your claim is unjustly denied due to reasons such as alleged property maintenance neglect.  


The bottom line is, the path to a successful insurance claim is rarely straightforward. Legal advice can ease this journey, safeguard your rights as a policyholder, and potentially secure a favorable claim outcome.  


Feeling at a loss with your first insurance claim? Don't go it alone. An attorney with expertise in this area can guide you through this distressing situation and ensure that you're not left high and dry by your insurer. Let's talk about your unique claim and how we can make the system work for you. 


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