When Florida homes are severely damaged by storms or other events, the restoration process can be extremely frustrating for all parties involved. Homeowners want the damage repaired as soon as possible regardless of the amount of funds readily available to cover the costs. However, contractors are often reluctant to begin the job until they receive assurance that they will be paid in a timely fashion once the job is complete.

A provision in some homeowners' insurance policies known as assignment of benefits (AOB) might be able to reduce the level of frustration and expedite the restoration process. A properly executed AOB allows a third party to make repair decisions, file claims and collect payments without the assistance of the homeowner. In a manner of speaking, an AOB works in a similar fashion as to a health insurance policy when a patient visits their doctor. However, that provision has been a source of contention in the Florida legislature.

Supporters say that an AOB allows contractors to get paid more quickly and reduces the chance that an insurance company will be able to low-ball a homeowner. Critics, on the other hand, maintain that such agreements escalate costs. One provision currently being considered by the Florida legislature is to cap benefits for emergency repairs at $3,000. Another provision would allow homeowners to rescind agreements when repairs have not been completed within a designated period of time.

Homeowners' insurance is designed to protect someone from financial loss when their home is damaged. Most policies also provide protection against fire and theft. In some cases, though, insurance companies will deny legitimate claims or delay payments unnecessarily. When that happens, it may be to the homeowner's benefit to contact a law firm with experience in handling homeowners' insurance claims.

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