Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed Senate Bill 76 into law which will have a significant impact on homeowner’s insurance claims in Florida.
Here’s what the new Florida homeowner’s insurance bill may mean for you if you’re making a property damage claim in Florida:
No More Soliciting From Contractors
From July 1, 2021, contractors will be prohibited from soliciting property owners, including offers for making roof damage claims.
Specifically, contractors will be prohibited from advertising to ‘encourage, instruct or induce’ a consumer to contact contractors or public adjusters in order to make roof damage claims.
That means no more door hangers, flyers, signs, emails, magnets, pamphlets, business cards or people knocking your door with property damage claim offers.
This statute applies to anyone working for a contractor, either as an employee or specifically for soliciting. Contractors can also no longer interpret insurance policies or advise insured people without being a licensed public adjuster.
No More Offers for Roof Inspections
Florida Statute § 489.147 will also prohibit financial incentives for roof claims.
Contractors in Florida often offer rebates, gift cards, coupons and other deals in exchange for roof inspections.
Similarly, the new statute restricts the use of referral fees or rewards for any roof repair or replacement services payable by property insurance proceeds.
Reduced Time Frame to Make Property Damage Claims
SB 76 also expands the existing Florida property damage claim notice statute. Previously, property owners had 3 years to file and reopen property damage claims.
But now, beginning July 1, 2021, if you want to make a property damage claim, or reopen a claim you must do so within two years of the date the damage occurred.
A ‘supplemental claim’ is no longer allowed, unless you make notice of that claim within three years.
Additionally, this will now also cover all property damage claims, not just hurricane claims.
Note: This will not change the existing five-year statute of limitations for filing a breach of contract lawsuit under Florida Statute § 95.11.
What Are Reopened or Supplemental Property Damage Claims?
- A reopened claim is a property damage claim that was closed, but has been reopened to help cover additional costs or damage that was previously disclosed.
- A supplemental claim is a property damage claim for additional damages not previously covered, from the same situation as previously adjusted or for costs incurred during repairs.
Other Changes in the New Florida Property Damage Bill
- Allows for larger annual rate increases for customers of Citizens Property Insurance, the government-backed insurer. Currently, the cap is at 10%, but that could gradually increase to 15% over the next five years.
- Steps to limit fees of attorneys representing homeowners in lawsuits against insurers. This will be done via a formula that compares how much money is awarded in court judgments and how much was offered by insurers in claim settlements before the lawsuit.
What Impact Could This Have on Florida residents?
While insurers may claim the new Florida property damage bill will keep costs down, many critics are concerned these law changes will raise premiums on homeowners who receive coverage from state-backed providers as a last resort.
When Does The New Florida Property Damage Bill Begin?
Florida SB 76 takes effect July 1, 2021.
Why The New Florida Property Damage Bill?
The insurance industry argues that it has suffered considerable losses in recent years through property damage claims and this is an effort to minimize the number of claims.
Lawmakers also believe the bill is needed as private insurers have raised rates, forcing many homeowners to turn to Citizens for coverage.
At the bill-signing event in Sarasota, Senate sponsor Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton said, “I think we’ve gotten at the cost drivers here, the unscrupulous contractors, the unlicensed contractors. We’ve got significant penalties and responsibilities for them that will get at the costs. And then some of the claims reporting and some other areas that I think will definitely make a difference, and it will drive costs down.”
But Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami argued, “There is no sugar-coating this, it literally is going to raise the rates.”
Did You Know?
- In 2020, 56 Florida insurers reported a combined $1.57 billion in losses.
- From 2000 to 2019, there were 81 hurricanes and tropical storms across Florida.
- 34.4% of Insurance losses are caused by wind-related claims.
How to Make a Property Damage Claim?
If your property damage claim has been turned down by an insurer or if you’re unsure on where to start, then contact a Property Damage attorney as soon as possible.
Insurers are notorious for finding ways to avoid paying out what property owners deserve. From denying claims, to stalling and putting the blame on you, we’ve seen it all.
By hiring a property damage attorney, you can find help to navigate the claims process. They’ll take on the daunting team of lawyers that insurers are armed with and will give you the best chance at receiving compensation to cover your repairs.
Property damage claims often include:
- Fire Damage
- Sinkhole Damage
- Storm and Hurricane Damage
- Theft Damage
- Tree Damage
- Water Damage
- Wind Damage
- And More
Acting fast to make your property damage claim has always been important. But starting July 1, 2021, you have even less time than before.
Be sure to file your property damage claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. SB 76 now shortens the time frame to file your initial claim, so time is of the essence! By contacting a property damage attorney, we can guide you through the claims process.
Property Damage Attorney in St Petersburg, Florida
Free Consultation Today
If you’re suffering from property damage and facing a problematic insurance company, then contact us today.
Attorney Jonathon Douglas leads the property damage claim team nationally ranked by US News and World Reports as a Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
Having previously represented some of the largest insurance companies in the State of Florida, Mr. Douglas uses his inside knowledge and experience to help you tackle the insurance companies.
Regardless of your situation, you can receive a free consultation today.