Perhaps you’re among the many homeowners that have diligently paid their homeowner’s insurance for years and have been lucky enough to never file a claim. Yet despite never once filing a claim, you check your mail only to receive a letter from your insurer stating they will be dropping your policy, as has been the case for countless homeowners.
What do you do?
Seeking another provider isn’t as straightforward as it once was, as all but a few insurers hesitate to write new insurance in the tri-county area, citing high rates of fraud and lawsuits as a barrier. According to agents, the remaining few would only protect new houses or existing homes with recent roofs.
You have choices, but they are likely to be unappealing. One choice is to enroll with Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-owned “insurer of last resort,” which would limit you to a 45 percent surcharge if the business runs short of funds covering premiums following a devastating hurricane season.
Another alternative is to purchase a policy that only reimburses you for the current value of your roof if it has to be fixed, meaning you’ll have to take care of paying the difference. In such a case, you may still have to pay thousands of dollars to fix or replace the roof. According to Florida insurance analysts, this could soon be the sole method of protecting your home.
Your house could be threatened for non-renewal if you live in an older home with an older roof, in an area where major storms may happen often, or even a ZIP code where many claims are being filed regardless of their legitimacy.
Don’t be surprised if this arises. Insurers are required by Florida law to provide non-renewal letters a minimum of 120 days before your contract ends, giving you enough time to find new coverage.
If your insurer decides it’s time to part ways, don’t assume they immediately accuse you of fraud. Frequently, their reinsurers — the firms they purchase policies from to ensure they’ll have enough money to cover claimants following a disaster — compel them to reduce liabilities.
Any questions about a claim you may have or if you’re dealing with an insurance claim and getting nowhere, please contact us to speak with a Miami insurance lawyer.