There is a legal concept called the “statute of limitations”, which sets a maximum time after an event in which a claim must be brought. You may have heard of the concept statutes of limitations on a tv show where someone “gets away” with a crime because the crime occurred too long ago to prosecute, despite overwhelming evidence of guilt. The same concept applies to contract law. Do not let insurance companies “get away” with not paying you what you owe.
Statutes of limitations are drafted and passed by the governing legislative body for the jurisdiction. In the case of Florida, the Florida Legislature sets the statutes of limitations applicable to any legal action, criminal or civil. Thus, the Florida Legislatures sets a period whereby all claims must be brought to be valid, although the specific statute of limitations is claim-dependent.
Are There Statute of Limitations for Homeowners Insurance Claims?
In insurance, there are two time-limits in policies that all policyholders need to be aware of: (1) those identified in the insurance policy to file a claim with the insurance company, and (2) the statute of limitations for contract claims against insurance providers set by the Florida Legislature. First, your policy will generally have tight deadlines in which you must file your claims in order to be covered by the policy. If you file a claim outside of the deadlines, then they may deny the claim and refuse to pay. Often these policy-specific deadlines will begin the date that the loss occurred, known as the “date of loss”.
Second, the statute of limitations will begin to run from the date of loss. In Florida, you must bring a claim against your insurance company for breach of contract (failure to pay) within five years, barring a few exceptions. Although Florida’s five-year statute of limitations may seem long in comparison to your insurance policy’s filing requirement, the statute of limitations must be monitored. If your insurance provider has refused to pay, any claims for wrongful denial must be brought within five years of the date of loss – not the date of denial. For some homeowners, and especially for condominium associations, insurance claims can take several years to resolve, which may result in a short period of time that you’re allowed to bring a legal claim against the insurer.
The Insurance Company May Use Delay Tactics
Your insurance company knows that the statute of limitations in Florida is five years and will use that to their advantage. Insurance companies will stall and delay to drag out the claim for as long as possible to minimize the time that you have available to bring any claims against your insurance company. In some instances, they can drag out the dispute for more than five years meaning you have no right to sue for wrongful denial.
Insurance companies know that their delay tactics won’t work when you’re represented by an attorney and are thus more likely to resolve your claim in an expedient manner. As an experienced Florida Property Damage attorneys, we leverage our negotiating skills to ensure that you are compensated fairly and in a timely manner. If you have filed a claim with your insurance company or have had a claim denied, please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation so that we can help you get the resolution you deserve.