Homeowners paying higher price for insurance

Many Florida homeowners may find themselves paying a higher price for homeowners' insurance than they did in the past. According to one study, the premiums paid for this type of insurance have risen by 88 percent in the past 10 years. A finance company said that ongoing natural disasters may be one reason for the increase, but insurance companies are continuing to bring in significant profits.

Because insurance is based on calculating risk, it costs less money to buy insurance when there is a lower chance of a need to pay out. The increasing number of wildfires, hurricanes, and other serious problems has made homeowners' insurance a riskier business with a higher number of claims. In 11 of the top 15 states for homeowners' insurance premium hikes, tornadoes were a significant factor over the past years. Home insurance rates in those areas went up around 67 percent in the past decade, an increase of around $580 on average each year. Many homeowners may not immediately recognize the changes in their insurance premiums because they are often bundled into their monthly mortgage payment.

Homeowners may face battle over water damage claims

When a pipe bursts, the resulting water damage can be devastating to Florida homeowners. They may turn to their homeowners' insurance for coverage for the substantial bills that can shortly follow a significant plumbing problem. However, you may be surprised to learn that some insurers may delay or even deny claims for water damage caused by broken pipes, claiming that you should instead have additional flood insurance. Insurance companies are often dedicated above all to protecting their bottom line.

In fact, many homeowners encounter difficulties seeking compensation for any type of water damage claims. One significant issue that can arise is the source of the water that led to the problems. Homeowners' insurance policies often do not include damage for flooding caused by inclement weather; instead, additional policies must be purchased to address this type of flood damage. Of course, most people do not think that a broken pipe, leaking roof or other structural problem as a flooding issue requiring additional insurance. In some cases, when underground pipes and drains burst, insurers may claim that they are not responsible for covering the resulting damages.

Damages linger on months after Hurricane Michael

People in Florida are still struggling to recover from the effects of Hurricane Michael, even six months after the storm. The hurricane hit shore with winds of 155 mph and took 49 lives as it tore through two states and 12 counties in the Panhandle. Many are concerned that the recovery period could linger on for month or even years to come. The scenes of immediate disaster after the hurricane have been supplanted by those of ongoing damage: plain slabs where houses were destroyed, ongoing road damage and downed trees that continue to persist in areas of the state.

As of March 29, nearly 145,000 property damage insurance claims had been filed; of those, 95,632 homeowners' insurance claims were filed. These claims amounted to $6.153 billion in damages, but some say the total bill for the storm damages could rise to $12 billion. Bay County was particularly hard-hit; over 86,000 of the property damage claims were filed there. In Mexico Beach, the town where Michael came aground, over 800 homes were destroyed, half of the dwellings in the community. Among those homes still standing, half do not have electricity or running water.

Florida man charged with DUI while on a golf cart

A 45-year-old Florida man was driving a golf cart with a blood alcohol concentration more than three times the state's .08 percent limit on the evening of March 28 according to a report from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. He has been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest. The man was taken into custody in Lady Lake and transported to the Sumter County Detention Center for processing.

A SCSO deputy was dispatched to the vicinity of Morse Boulevard and East County Road 466 in the Villages development at approximately 7:45 p.m. after a passerby called to report a possibly intoxicated man behind the wheel of a golf cart at a red light. The deputy says that he suspected that the man was intoxicated after noticing the odor of alcohol and observing that his eyes were bloodshot and watery. The deputy also says that the man became antagonistic when asked to provide his address and date of birth.

Right to repair insurance clauses take control from homeowners

People expect their homeowners' insurance companies to pay for many types of damages in Florida. How damages are addressed, however, often does not become clear until people file claims. Most insurance companies now include a right to repair clause in their policies. This clause effectively gives the insurance companies complete control over who performs repairs and how they are done.

When an insurer invokes its right to repair, the policyholders have no say in how repairs are executed if they want the insurer to pay for the work. This lack of control could mean that an insurer chooses a cheap repair. In one case, an insurer ordered the repair of a leaking dishwasher. Two years later, the leak had resumed and caused extensive mold damage throughout the home. The homeowner said that she would have replaced the dishwasher if she had known that the repair would be insufficient.

When insurance companies act in bad faith

If you are a Florida business owner, it might seem as if nothing can be worse than dealing with insurance claims for property damage. When claims are delayed or denied, businesses might risk going under. It is important for you to know what to do if your insurance company is dragging its feet or has wrongfully denied your claim.

Your insurance company might deny your claim because it alleges that you failed to file it in time or that what you claimed for was not covered by the policy. It might also allege that you committed fraud even though you did everything that you were supposed to do.

$250 million settlement in shocking auto insurance fraud

In 2018, a court trial was scheduled against State Farm Insurance, the largest property casualty insurance company in America. The company was the defendant in a class action lawsuit for 4.7 million auto insurance customers. Filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the RICO lawsuit represented auto insurance customers from every state in the country except two states that had independently filed their own lawsuits.

The RICO charge filed in Illinois against State Farm alleged the company paid several million dollars to get a federal judge elected to the Illinois Supreme Court who agreed to dismiss the RICO lawsuit. If the class action lawsuit prosecution won, State Farm would pay nearly $9 billion to the insurance customers. The dollar amount was so high because RICO charges include treble damages for a conviction.

An overview of what BOPs protect against

It isn't uncommon for small businesses in Florida to purchase a business owner's policy (BOP). This type of policy can provide coverage against property or other liability risks that they may face. It is also possible for companies to buy the specific types of coverage that they need. Companies that purchase a BOP will receive a payout if their businesses are interrupted because of a natural disaster. It may also pay expenses related to a temporary headquarters.

The policy will also cover a building and the contents inside of that building. The amount of coverage it provides depends on whether the organization has purchased a standard or special policy. If a person is hurt while on the property, a BOP will provide financial protection in the event that a judgment is rendered against the business. It is important to note that a BOP may not be the only policy that a company needs.

3 lesser-known reasons for business interruption insurance

Like most business owners in the Hollywood, Florida, area, you work hard to grow your business. Even though you may have a hot product or in-demand service, you cannot predict the weather or other calamities. A sudden storm, fire or flood may render your company unable to meet customer demands. Even worse, an emergency could destroy your business forever. 

With business interruption insurance, you receive compensation for lost income during a business shutdown. Naturally, this type of coverage ensures you have the ability to continue business after you rebuild. There are, however, some lesser-known reasons for having business interruption coverage. Here are three of them: 

Major Hurricane Matthew insurance claim reaches settlement

Commercial property damage claims can be complex and expensive affairs. But in the case of a Florida condominium complex, the damage claim reached new levels, including federal litigation. The condo owners in Ormond Beach recently brought an end to the litigation nightmare and returned to some form of normalcy.

The claim began during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Damage to the building led the homeowner association to seek an insurance claim for damages. The association president retained a management company to perform repairs and handle the damage claims. The president assigned the insurance benefits to the management company.

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