It is not uncommon for homeowners’ insurance claims to be underpaid in Florida. Insurance companies help bolster their profits by finding ways to limit what they need to pay out for claims. For example, they may argue that the damage was not covered by your policy or that you did not take proper care of your home. If you’re faced with an underpaid insurance claim in Florida, you do have options you can pursue. If you would like to dispute your insurance provider’s decision, you should contact a skilled insurance dispute lawyer ASAP.
Herman & Wells has a team of highly skilled and experienced insurance dispute attorneys in Florida, and they know how to respond when insurance companies treat policyholders unjustly. Our law firm operates on a contingency fee agreement with our clients. This means that we don’t earn any money unless we are successful in advocating for our clients. This is also why we are able to offer a free legal consultation for Florida residents dealing with underpaid insurance claims.
This is a no-risk opportunity to review the details of your situation with a skilled insurance dispute attorney. If it ends up that the insurance company made the right call, you’ll be getting the confirmation from an outside party and can rest easier knowing you weren’t taken advantage of. If what they did was unjust, you’ll have the opportunity to hire one of the best insurance dispute legal teams in Florida. Call (727) 821-3195 if you’re ready to talk to an attorney today.
Lowball Settlement Offers for Car Accident Claims in Florida
For Florida residents who get seriously injured in car accidents, the insurance claim process can also be quite daunting if they handle it solo. Insurance companies in Florida often try to lowball car accident victims by offering them a quick settlement that is far less than what their claim is really worth. This can leave injured victims struggling to cover their medical expenses and other costs associated with their injuries. If you have been in a car accident, it is worth contacting a reputable personal injury attorney to discuss your options before you file your car accident claim.
How To Determine If Your Insurance Claim Has Been Underpaid?
If you’re not sure whether or not your insurance claim has been underpaid, there are a few things you can look for. Here are some signs that the insurance company may have underpaid your claim:
The Insurance Adjusters Estimate Seems Lower Than It Should Be
Another sign that your insurance company has underpaid your claim is if their estimate seems too low. Remember, you know the damage in your home better than anyone else, so if their estimate doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.
Your Claim Was Flat-Out or Partially Denied
If your insurance company has denied your claim outright, or if they’ve only paid for a portion of the damage, that’s another sign that you may have been underpaid. Even if the majority of your claim is denied, it’s likely that the value assigned to your case was low. At this stage, you’ll want to seek a second opinion from a professional, such as an insurance attorney.
Damage Was Overlooked
An insurance adjuster will look at your property to see the damage and then calculate how much money your claim is worth. If there is damage that was missed during the inspection process, that’s a clear sign that you were underpaid on your claim. Make sure to point out any missed damage to the adjuster so they can include it in the estimate.
Common Reasons Insurance Companies Undervalue Property Damage Claims in Florida
Offering a settlement that is less than the true value of the claim is called underpaying a claim. The insurance claims adjuster will estimate your losses and property damage. The adjuster may offer an amount that is less than what you need to cover your home repair costs. Failing to offer the amount promised to you when you purchased the policy is also underpaying a claim. An insurance company might underpay a Pinellas home insurance claim for a variety of reasons, including:
The Insurance Adjuster Rushed the Inspection Process
One of the most common ways that insurance companies underpay claims is by rushing through the inspection process. Following any devastating event, it’s very probable that your property will suffer significant damage. The examination needed to assess the damage should be comprehensive. If the adjuster does not inspect all of the destruction thoroughly, they may undervalue the estimate.
Paying the Actual Cash Value
The insurance company might offer you a settlement based on the depreciated value of your damaged belongings rather than replacing them with new items. The depreciated value is the present market value of a property rather than the cost to replace or repair it.
Depreciating the Labor Costs
The insurance company might try to lowball you by offering a settlement that doesn’t cover the cost of hiring a professional to do the repairs. This is a popular approach to undervalue labor costs. The cost of the materials required to restore your house may be accurately determined by an insurance adjuster, but labor costs may be underestimated in order to decrease the overall value. Check that the insurance company’s calculations are correct; keep in mind that labor expenses should be considered.
Insurance Bad Faith
This is when an insurance company tries to get out of paying a claim by using underhanded tactics, such as dragging their feet or denying your claim outright. Bad faith is intentionally undervaluing claims.
Top Reasons Insurance Providers Underpay Accident Claims in Florida
If you’ve been in an accident, there’s a chance that your insurance claim has been underpaid. Here are the top reasons why insurance providers underpay accident claims:
The Insurance Company is Hyper Focused on Maintaining Profits
The insurance company is primarily concerned with making a profit, so they may try to lowball you on your settlement offer. If they can get away with paying you less than you deserve, they will jump at the chance. The insurance company isn’t your friend, they aren’t working for your benefit. But there is good news: insurance adjusters are not allowed to pick and choose what is fair on their own. They may be held accountable for their policy language as well as the law.
A Low Ball Offer Was Auto-Generated by an Insurance Provider’s Software Program
Many times, insurers will use software to generate settlement offers, which can lead to lowball offers. Every day, the insurance industry is flooded with an enormous number of insurance claims. They are obligated by law to thoroughly investigate each claim and with good faith. Unfortunately, they occasionally allow a quick algorithm to take care of things — at least initially. Computer-based estimates will try to evaluate your claim against similar claims and offer you a settlement accordingly. Many clients will accept the modest payment without demanding more.
Your Right to Sue the Insurance Company May be Bought with a Low Settlement
If you accept a low settlement offer, you may be giving up your right to sue the insurance company for more money. This is called a “Release Agreement” A release agreement is a typical component of insurance settlement agreements, and in general, it’s very airtight. The courts tend to strictly enforce the contracts.
Suppose you accept a low settlement offer and discover any of the following:
- You were entitled to a lot more money than was offered.
- You thought the injuries you sustained were minor but turned out to be far more serious.
- You’ve acquired injuries, secondary problems, infections, or illness as a consequence of the accident.
- You’re not healing as expected, or your injuries are getting worse all of a sudden.
- Others who were in similar accidents and have similar injuries received far greater settlements.
- A few months later, you receive medical expenses for which you were not prepared.
It’s not unusual for things like this to happen. However, if you’ve already accepted a low settlement offer, you’ll most likely be unable to do anything further. This is yet another reason why insurance firms provide such modest payouts: it helps them off the hook permanently at a minimal price. Never sign anything without consulting with a personal injury lawyer first.
The Insurance Company Doesn’t Think You’d Hire a Florida Insurance Dispute Lawyer
The insurer knows that if you hire a lawyer, you’re more likely to get a higher settlement. So, they might lowball you in the hopes that you won’t bother with legal help. Insurance carriers generally don’t want to go to court. The trial itself is expensive and sometimes more than the claim is worth, and there’s a chance they’ll lose even more money than you’re asking for right now. Insurance companies aren’t always popular with juries, and they understand this. One of the top reasons insurance carriers offer such small payouts is that they don’t believe you will take any action. Hiring a lawyer, on the other hand, sends an obvious message that you intend to do something about it.
If you think your insurance claim has been underpaid, don’t hesitate to reach out to a personal injury lawyer for help. An experienced attorney will be able to review your case and let you know if you have a claim for additional compensation.
The Insurance Adjuster is Missing Important Information Related to Your Accident
This is one of the most common reasons for lowball offers. The insurance company simply doesn’t have all of the information they need to make a fair offer. This could be because they haven’t received all of the medical bills or because they haven’t spoken to all of the witnesses.
Too Much (or the Wrong Thing) Has Been Said
Another common reason for lowball offers is that the insurance company believes you have said something that gives them an excuse to lowball you. For example, if you told the adjuster that you were only “slightly injured,” they may use that statement against you later. It’s important to be careful about what you say to the insurance company. You should never give a recorded statement without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer. When discussing the accident with others, be cautious. Only say as little as possible. To the greatest extent feasible, avoid social media and don’t think your privacy settings are sufficient. Come in and talk to us as soon as possible if you’re concerned that you’ve already said the wrong thing.
First, Deny. Later, Defend
This is a common insurance company tactic. They will first deny your claim and then, once you have hired an attorney and are preparing to file a lawsuit, they will offer you a lowball settlement in an attempt to avoid having to go to court. This sort of technique is in breach of the insurance company’s obligations and may even result in an “insurance bad faith” lawsuit. Your Pinellas personal injury lawyer can assist you with this type of lawsuit. Unfair denials and lowball offers, on the other hand, are not uncommon. If you’re wondering why insurance providers give such limited payments, this terrible practice might be to blame. If you’ve been injured in an accident and the insurance company has made a lowball offer, contact our office for a free consultation. We can review your case and advise you on the best course of action.
Are Certain Claims More Likely to be Undervalued by Insurance Providers in Florida?
Some claims are more likely to be undervalued than others. For example, if you have an older home in Pinellas County, Florida, your insurance company may not factor in the increased cost of building materials and labor required to meet current building code standards. As a result, your claim could be significantly undervalued, leaving you with insufficient funds to rebuild. If you believe your insurance claim has been undervalued, don’t hesitate to contact a public adjuster or attorney who can help you fight for the full value of your claim. With their help, you can make sure you have the resources you need to fully rebuild your home and get back on your feet after a disaster.
How Coverage Limits Can Impact What You’ll Receive for an Insurance Claim
When it comes to insurance claims, the amount of coverage you have can make a big difference in what you ultimately receive. If you have a high policy limit, you may be more likely to receive full compensation for your injuries. However, if your policy limit is low, you may end up having to pay out-of-pocket for some of your medical expenses. What if the insurance adjuster authorizes maximum compensation, but your injuries still cost more than what’s covered?
If you have a $100,000 policy limit and your medical bills are $120,000, you’ll be responsible for paying the remaining $20,000. This is why it’s important to understand your coverage limits before an accident occurs. If you have significant savings or income, you may want to purchase an umbrella policy with higher coverage limits. If you have any questions about your coverage or how it may impact your ability to recover compensation, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida.
What Can Florida Homeowners Do If Their Insurance Claim is Underpaid?
If your insurance company has denied or underpaid your claim, you may still have options. It’s important to know that you can reopen your claim, even if the cause of damage took place several years ago. You may be able to reopen your claim and receive the whole amount you are owed if you hire an attorney. It’s also critical to study your policy’s property coverage. You may need to produce more evidence of how much you are owed.
The second step is to figure out what matters most to the insurance company. It’s as simple as that: the insurance business is seeking ways to pay you as little money as possible. Perhaps you didn’t submit all of your papers or evidence of loss. It’s in their best interests to pay you less and make a bigger profit, so it’s in their interest to deny and underpay your claim. You may still have options if your claim has been denied or underpaid by your insurance company after several years since the storm or incident took place. Whether you can reopen your complaint with an attorney depends on the circumstances.
Can Insurance Dispute Attorneys Help With Underpaid Claims in Florida?
If you have been the victim of an insurance company’s bad faith practices, you may be entitled to greater compensation. An experienced insurance dispute attorney can help you recover the money you deserve. Claimants who hire a lawyer are treated differently by insurers than those without representation. Hiring an insurance dispute lawyer with significant trial experience will persuade an insurance company to take you seriously and give greater compensation. Your attorney will be able to handle the insurance company and all correspondence on your behalf. While this may seem like a daunting task, an experienced insurance dispute attorney will be able to guide you through every step of the process.
Reviewing Your Insurance Policy in Detail
For each property insurance case, the first thing we look at is the insurance policy. A property insurance policy sets out what is covered and what is not covered. It also sets the amount of coverage available in general, and for specific items and losses. For example, many policies limit the amount of coverage available for jewelry or for damage caused by mold. Sometimes there are coverage extensions for certain types of losses, which provide more coverage than the stated policy limit. Different losses also sometimes have different deductibles, which the policy addresses.
Most insurance policies have forms called “endorsements” that change the terms of the main policy form. We review the policy and what courts have said about similar policy language and determine what parts of your loss are covered by the insurance policy and whether there are any limitations on that coverage.
Once we know what the insurance company should have covered, we have to determine the amount of loss for each covered part of the loss. This usually involves working with experts to determine what repairs are needed and the cost of those repairs. We also gather information from our clients to determine the amount of some losses – such as personal property, additional living expenses, or lost business income.
These two issues let us determine the value of the insurance claim, which should have been paid without forcing you to hire an attorney.
How Property Insurance Lawsuits Work in Florida
The value of a property insurance lawsuit involves more than just the claim. Florida law allows policyholders the right to claim attorneys’ fees, costs, and interest if they win a case against their insurance company. Depending on the facts, the insurance company could also be liable for bad faith damages—harms caused by the insurance company’s failure to act in good faith towards its insured. The law requires certain conditions be met before these additional items can be claimed. Additional issues like bad faith damages and fees typically increase the value of property insurance cases and cause the case to continue to increase in value as it progresses through litigation.
Our Attorneys Offer Free Consultations for Underpaid Insurance Claims in Florida
At Herman & Wells, our attorneys understand the frustration and anxiety that comes with being underpaid on an insurance claim. We also know that many policyholders don’t realize they have options when it comes to appealing a decision or getting the compensation they deserve. That’s why we offer free consultations for underpaid insurance claims in Florida. During a consultation, one of our experienced insurance lawyers will review your case and help you understand your legal options. We’ll also answer any questions you have about the appeals process and what you can expect going forward. If you’re ready to get started, contact Herman & Wells today to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Case ResultsSee More Case Results
Underpaid Commercial Insurance Claim
Hurricane winds damaged our client’s apartment complex, causing roof damage and interior water damage. The insurance company paid $100,000, which was not enough money to cover the cost of repairs. We filed a lawsuit against the insurance company and recovered an additional $228,000 for our client, bringing the total payment up to $328,000. This allowed our client to fully repair the storm damage.
Underpaid Fire Loss
Our client’s home was burned in an accidental fire. The insurance company delayed paying and, when it finally paid, didn’t pay enough to replace the home. We fought for additional living expense, building coverage, lost rental income, and other available coverage. After going through an appraisal and then filing a lawsuit, we were able to recover over $450,000 from the insurance company.