It’s tempting to think if you buy a standard policy that you’ll be covered for all types of damage from hurricanes, fires, theft, tornadoes, and any type of natural disaster or accidental damage. Coverage, though, is a broad term. The insurance company will make every effort to limit your claim. The best remedy is to include provisions and language in the insurance policy before you sign the policy contract. Homeowners should review their policies with an experienced attorney because mistakes in the policy can cost a fortune.
Some of the coverage items homeowners and business owners often make are:
- Not valuing the structure correctly. Properties are often underinsured for several reasons:
- Policyholders may obtain coverage through their mortgage company for just the amount of the mortgage. The value of the policy should cover the cost to buy a similar property in the same area.
- The insured should consider that the potential cost to rebuild the same structure from scratch is much more than the cost to buy a new one.
- The insurance policy may only cover the actual cash value, which includes
- Not covering natural disasters. Policies don’t always include damage and losses from natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and damage from excessive winds. For example, flood insurance is not included in standard policies, so you need to ensure that you’re covered if you’re in a flood zone.
- Understanding that the deductible may vary. Some deductibles use a specific amount. Other deductibles are based on a percentage of the coverage. The percentage, in turn, may vary depending on the type of damage. For example, the damage deductible due to earthquakes (if earthquakes are covered) can be quite high – around 15%.
- Not understanding the exclusions or limitations that apply. Policyholders need to know if they have a named peril policy (which lists what events are covered) or an all all-risk policy (which lists which events are not covered), and how that will affect what they are entitled to claim.
You can’t negotiate the insurance policy’s terms after you’ve signed it, though you ay be able to buy additional policies before your current policy is up for renewal. If you do not understand what is covered or excluded from your policy, ask your agent before you sign. If you think your claim has been unfairly denied, it’s time to get an insurance dispute lawyer to help.
The experienced insurance lawyers at Warhurst Law have been advising Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana clients about insurance claims for nearly 25 years. When disputes about coverage do arise, we’ll fight to maximize the amount of damages you should be paid. To schedule a consultation with an attorney, call us in Mobile at 251.207.1296 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment. At Warhurst Law, we represent homeowners throughout the Southeast including the Florida panhandle, the Gulf Coast, and Mobile, Alabama.
* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.