Yes, I know. There’s a “fox and a henhouse” joke in there somewhere. But for many of us, it’s actually no laughing matter. Property insurance is one of those things like drain traps or cheap condoms – we buy them and don’t give much thought to the mechanics of how they work until it’s too late. Well here’s some news regarding the fine print that may be buried in your property insurance contract that you may want to think about before you’re in a pinch.
Insurers are Now Electing to Repair Your Home Damage Themselves Instead of Allowing You to Pick Your Own Contractor.
Wait! My insurance company can decide who will fix my home and what repairs will be done without my say- so? Under some policies the answer is “yes.” It’s called “managed repair” and each day more insurers are adding clauses to their contracts which provide that, in exchange for a modest discount on premiums (usually around $200), customers elect to give up the right to manage their own repairs and surrender control to their insurance company. Ask your agent for options.
What Happens When Managed Repair Becomes “Unmanageable?”
So your insurance company sent you Larry, his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl from the old Newhart show and you’re more than a bit concerned that they’re not doing the quality or scope of work that they should. What can you do? Well, again you have options (cue: lawyer waiving his hands in the air). Recent court decisions have made inroads allowing homeowners to challenge the insurer’s repair decisions and in some cases even allowing the homeowner to regain control of the repairs. An attorney can assist and one skilled in property insurance claims should never charge for the consult.
Remember, sometimes you’ve got to stop and think about how things work and what a $200 discount really costs you. And, of course, if it’s too late and you find yourself in a jam – let a lawyer help you regain control.
Russel Lazega is an attorney and author of two of Florida’s most widely- distributed legal textbooks on Florida Insurance Law. He also represents storm victims and consumers at war with their insurance companies and is based in North Miami, Dania Beach, Orlando and Tampa, Florida. Questions? Contact: Russ@fladvocates.com.