When a natural disaster or someone’s negligence damages your property, you expect your insurance company to handle it fairly and promptly. Many insurers provide excellent service, but some may act in bad faith, leaving you on the hook for damaged property (like a home, boat or vehicle).
Fortunately, Florida has laws that protect policyholders from insurance company bad faith practices. If you believe your property insurer has acted in bad faith, you have a couple of options, as discussed below.
Insurance companies know that many property owners simply give up when their insurer refuses to make good on promises. Instead of accepting an unfair settlement, continue negotiating with the company and demanding proper compensation.
It may help to have a legal representative take over your negotiations, as most insurers hesitate to act in bad faith with someone who knows the law.
Unfortunately, negotiating with a determined insurance company does not always yield success, meaning you could still end up with less than you deserve. The next step for many harmed policyholders is to file a bad-faith insurance claim against the insurer.
Under Florida law, you could obtain damages (financial compensation) if you succeed with your lawsuit. For example, the insurance company will likely be ordered to pay your original property damage claim and cover your associated legal costs.
Policyholders may also make a bid for punitive damages in some bad-faith lawsuits. However, you must be prepared to show that the insurer harmed you through maliciousness or a reckless disregard for your rights. Having experienced legal support can be beneficial for those seeking damages through the court.