Florida residents and homeowners know very well that they and their properties exist comfortably at the whim of Mother Nature, whose destructive forces can cause problems on short notice. As the 2022 hurricane season comes to a close, many Florida residents are addressing maintenance and repair needs caused by the tropical weather. Floridians may purchase homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance, and federal flood insurance to protect themselves and their properties in the event of a weather-related disaster. The Florida Court of Appeal recently addressed a plaintiff’s water damage claim with their homeowner’s insurance company, which was previously rejected based on alleged fraud.
According to the facts discussed in the recently published opinion, the plaintiff purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy for her Orlando home from the defendant in May 2016. In April 2017, the plaintiff’s home was damaged in a storm, and she made a claim with the defendant to cover the damages. The plaintiff was offered a settlement of her claim that was not sufficient to cover her losses, and she pursued a breach of contract claim against the defendant to cover all of her losses. In investigating the plaintiff’s claim, the defendant discovered that a home inspection was completed in 2015, and the plaintiff did not disclose that the inspection found roof damage and water damage in the home before the plaintiff purchased the policy.
After discovering the inspection report, the defendant sought to deny the plaintiff’s claim and responded as such to the court. The trial court agreed that the plaintiff materially misrepresented the condition of the home when purchasing the policy, ruling that such misrepresentation invalidated the plaintiff’s claim of new water damage. The court threw out the plaintiff’s claim before a jury was even selected for trial. The plaintiff appealed the case resolution to the Florida Court of Appeal. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff that for a homeowners insurance policy to be invalidated based on misrepresentation or fraud, the insured must intend to mislead the insurance company. Such intent is a fact judgment, that should be determined by the jury at trial. As a result of this finding, the court ruled that the trial court was not justified in disposing of the plaintiff’s claim. The trial court ruling was reversed, and the case will be remanded to proceed toward settlement or a trial on the plaintiff’s claims.
Are You Frustrated After Trying to Pursue a Florida Homeowner’s Claim?
Florida residents and homeowners understand the raw power of nature and the destruction that natural events are capable of causing. Because of this, Floridians need to purchase sufficient insurance coverage to protect their assets and livelihoods in the event of unexpected damage. The experienced Florida insurance claim attorneys at Friedman, Rodman, Frank, and Estrada have successfully represented Florida clients in all types of insurance issues, including homeowner’s insurance, auto accidents, and professional malpractice claims. Call our office at 877-448-8585 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.