1. Know the reporting requirements. Most policies require that you report damages within a certain time period. If you fail to accurately report ALL damages within time periods contained in your policy, it could result in the claim being denied, regardless of the validity of your loss!
2. Understand the language. Knowing the meaning of key policy terms and definitions can make a real difference to you. For example, the difference between a policy that pays for damaged property at “replacement cost” versus “actual cash value” of the asset can mean a significant difference to you in terms of out-of-pocket expense and loss. We recommend that you contact your insurance agent and ask for a full explanation of what your coverage provides. Do this before the loss occurs!
3. Maintain an accurate and current list of your belongings. Keep an accurate inventory, along with photographs, receipts or credit card statements that provide proof of purchase of your home's contents. Keep all of these in a safe location outside of your home. Without sufficient proof to satisfy the terms of your policy, you will not be fully compensated.
4. ALE coverage – Additional Living Expenses. If your home becomes uninhabitable, you are going to need a place to stay until you can move back in. ALE coverage helps defray this cost. However, insurance policies differ regarding how and when they pay. Make sure you know ahead of time what you are entitled to under this coverage.
5. Law and Ordinance Coverage. Many local codes and ordinances can require that your home be restored to meet new building codes and municipal ordinances. Some policies only recover the actual cost of repair. Make sure your policy provides coverage for repair that satisfies the law.
We want to make sure that you thoroughly understand your Florida homeowner’s insurance policy before any loss may occur. The rules, limitations, and definitions can be tricky and hard to understand. If you are in doubt, call your insurance agent and ask for an explanation of what your policy provides, what it doesn’t, and what you need to do in the event of a loss. While it may sound cliché, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry when it comes to understanding your homeowners insurance coverage.
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