Wear and Tear Exclusion in a Home Insurance Policy
Nobody likes paying for insurance or the hassle of dealing with insurance adjusters, but it’s a necessary part of life, whether you’re talking about car insurance, life insurance, or home insurance. One of the most frustrating and complicated aspects of these policies is fully understanding what’s included in your coverage and what exclusions may apply to your claim. This can be especially difficult when you’re trying to figure out your home insurance policy exclusions, specifically those for wear and tear.
If you’ve recently had a claim denied by your provider or want help in pursuing a property damage claim you believe is valid but your provider is contesting, call Pekar Law, P.A. Attorney Jeff Pekar is able to represent clients in the Tampa, Florida, area and throughout Western and Central Florida, including Orlando, Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Lakeland.
The Process for Filing Home Insurance Claims in Florida
Typically, home insurance policies cover damage that occurs to the structure of your home that’s caused by a “peril,” which can include storms, hurricanes, or fires. All policies will come with their own coverage limits, rules, and exclusions, making it crucial that you read the fine print so you know exactly what you’ll be able to file a property insurance claim for. Homeowners’ insurance is required by nearly every lender per the terms of the mortgages, meaning the vast majority of households in the state must have some sort of policy in place.
When filing a home insurance claim in Florida, you’ll want to follow these steps:
Identify statute of limitations in your policy: The length of time you have to make a claim will depend on the type of damage you’re seeking compensation for. In general, claims for a breach of insurance contract must be made within five years, claims where a neighboring property caused damage must be made within four years, and claims for damage caused by factors like hurricanes and storms must be made within three years.
Document damages: Providing enough evidence will be key to getting compensated. This could include photos, videos, or proof of ownership.
Protect your damaged property from additional damages: You’ll also need to ensure that any damage you’re seeking coverage for is only due to the covered peril and not anything else. For instance, if your roof was damaged in a storm but you didn’t cover holes that it left and you incurred more damage from rain, this may complicate your claim.
Get help from an attorney: Finally, it’s always a good idea to contact a property insurance attorney if you’re at all unsure of how to file the claim or if you’d like help negotiating with an insurance adjuster.
Understanding Wear and Tear Exclusions
The first question you should ask yourself when obtaining coverage like this is, “What exclusions apply to my home insurance policy?” One of the major ones is called a “wear and tear” exclusion. Home insurance plans are intended to cover unforeseen causes and not issues related to regular home maintenance or the gradual deterioration of home systems or appliances (for this type of coverage, you should look into purchasing a home warranty).
From the insurer’s perspective, by limiting what their plans cover, they’re in a better position to pay out on other unexpected damages, and by listing certain exclusions, they’re not contractually liable for paying out on more avoidable types of damage.
However, what constitutes “covered” and “excluded” damage isn’t always clear-cut, and you may end up making a claim that you genuinely believe should be covered and is then denied by your provider. This could then trigger a dispute that could lead to a bad faith lawsuit you file against your provider.
While you should do everything you can do to resolve the dispute before it gets to this stage, in some instances, it may be necessary to get the compensation you deserve. In any case, if you are interested in pursuing litigation, this should only be done with the help of a property damage attorney.
Other Common Exclusions
Wear and tear exclusions are just one example of limitations that insurance companies set. Others may include:
Flooding or earthquakes
Additional Coverage You May Need
Because a standard homeowners’ insurance plan won’t cover all your needs, you may consider adding on certain riders that can expand your coverage or taking out a completely separate service contract like a home warranty. Additional coverage options may include:
Person property extended coverage
Coverage for other structures on your property
Business property coverage
Protect Your Property With Skilled Legal Counsel
If you live in or around the Tampa, Florida, area and would like to consult with an experienced attorney about a home insurance claim concern, reach out to Pekar Law, P.A. to schedule a consultation.