Hurricane Herminie was the first hurricane to hit Florida in more than a decade. On September 2, 2016 Herminie came inland southeast of Tallahassee with heavy rain, 80 mph winds and flooding. Insurance companies in Florida are getting thousands of damage claims from Florida property owners who purchased insurance policies to protect them from such losses.
You should know that your insurance policy is a legal contract, with detailed and specific terms and conditions which must be followed in order to collect benefits. One of the most important parts of every property insurance policy requires insureds to comply with specific post-loss obligations. Within the “Conditions” or “Duties After Loss” sections the insurance policy sets forth what an insured must do after a loss in order to be paid benefits for a covered claim. For instance, most insurance policies require an insured to complete a “Sworn Proof of Loss”. However, insurance policies are different regarding the time an insured has to submit the Sworn Proof of Loss.
A sworn proof of loss is a statement completed by an insured under oath which provides claim specific information detailing the damages to the insured’s property and estimated cost of repairs. Some policies require an insured to complete a sworn proof of loss only when requested by the insurance company. However many insurance policies require the insured to submit a sworn proof of loss within 60 after the loss.
When an insured fails to comply with the sworn proof of loss requirement of the insurance policy, there can be serious consequences, including the denial of the insured’s entire claim. Further, Florida courts have issued numerous legal decisions addressing an insured’s failure to timely submit a sworn proof of loss. Some cases hold that if an insured files a lawsuit against the insurance company before the insured sends the required sworn proof of loss, the insurance company is relieved of its duties under the policy and the insurance coverage is forfeited by the insured.
Florida property owners must know all rights they have under their insurance policy, and also their policy obligations in order to avoid a potential loss of coverage. If you have questions about your insurance claim, the insurance claims process, insurance policy rights and obligations, including a sworn proof of loss, or any other insurance policy or coverage issue, please contact our Florida insurance law attorneys at Danahy & Murray, P.A. We are here to help make sure you get the insurance coverage you paid for.
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