Couple discussing the statute of limitations for homeowners insurance claims in Florida.

What Is Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Homeowners Insurance Claims?

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. 

Woman meeting with attorney to buy homeowners insurance.

Two Major Considerations when Buying Homeowners Insurance in Florida

Buying a home is considered by most people as their most important purchase. If so, then buying homeowners insurance should be the second most important. While buying a home is an exciting time, there are important and often overlooked aspects that must be carefully considered. One of which is deciding which homeowner insurance policy to purchase, particularly in Florida where challenges from unexpected weather damage can be exacerbated by seemingly unimportant provisions in your insurance policy.

Important Considerations When Buying Homeowners Insurance

First, while the price is an important consideration, another important consideration is the financial stability of the insurance carrier, how the insurance carrier handles claims,  and the conditions and limitations of the policy.  When buying homeowner insurance, be sure to investigate the companies offering the policies. While a low-cost insurance company may offer low premiums and seemingly great coverage, the policy may come with many exclusions and limitations when handling the claim.  In natural disasters, large volumes of claims can bankrupt insurance companies. Thus, a financially stable insurance company is paramount. Generally, insurance companies that have a strong history of paying claims and surviving major payout events (such as hurricanes) tend to be stable. More established insurance companies, such as Geico and Allstate, are good places to start. Nonetheless, you should consult with a professional to determine an insurer’s financial stability.

Next, you should evaluate the coverage offered by each policy. In many cases, low-cost policies are low-cost for a reason: their coverage is significantly limited. Policies limit their coverage through exclusions and limits to coverage amounts. The exclusions section identifies certain events and types of damage that is not covered by the policy. Relatively common exclusions include flood damage, damage from power failures, sewage drain backups, neglect, defective materials, etc. When considering different homeowner’s insurance policies, exclusions should be carefully considered. Similarly, homeowner’s insurance policies will commonly limit the amount of coverage for items within the home that are damaged. While you may have a policy for $500,000 but it may have a limit for personal property of $5,000.  Your grandmother’s piano may be worth $10,000, but if the policy may limits coverage to personal property to $5,000, your damages may not be fully covered. Thus, two important considerations when buying homeowner’s insurance is whether the insurance company can pay a claim and whether that claim is actually covered under the policy.

Contact the Law Office of William J. Roe Today

When filing claims against your policy, insurance companies may try to refuse to pay the claim – often relying on exclusions and other policy limits or undervalue your claim. In many situations, an insurance company may refuse to cover an event that is seemingly covered in your policy, citing an excluded event actually caused the damage, such as claiming that damage was due to flooding (an often excluded event) rather than the actual storm that caused the damage. We see these tactics all too often and have the skillset and experience to hold your insurance policy provider accountable. 

At the Law Office of William J. Roe, our attorneys work tirelessly and diligently to get you’re the outcome you deserve. If you have questions relating to a homeowners insurance claim, please contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.