Case Law Wednesdays – Why Satisfying Post Loss Obligations are Important

Insurance policies typically contain post loss obligations that the insured must abide by before filing a lawsuit. Post loss obligations are conditions that the insured must perform after they have experienced a damage to their property. These obligations can include providing prompt notice of the loss, making reasonable repairs to protect the property, and/or providing a sworn proof of loss.

In State Farm v. Fernandez [1], the insureds reported a claim with State Farm after their home sustained damages due to Hurricane Wilma. State Farm concluded that the covered damages to the insureds property did not exceed their policy deduction and thus State Farm did not provide the insureds with any payment. Thus, the insureds’ public adjuster demanded appraisal for the damages, which he claimed was over $142,000. After the demand by the public adjuster, State Farm reminded the insureds of their post loss obligations and requested a sworn proof of loss and documentations regarding repairs, scope of damages, and the cause of loss. The insureds submitted a sworn proof of loss but did not attach any documentation supporting the sworn proof of loss. After denial of the claim, the insureds sued State Farm for breach of contract and moved to compel appraisal.

The court denied the insureds’ motion to compel appraisal because the insureds failed to comply with their post loss obligations. The insureds failed to give notice of the damage, protect their property from further damage, keep an accurate record of their expenses, and provide State Farm with the requested documents.

The action insureds take right after their loss is crucial to their claim against their insurance company. As an insured, be sure to take photographs of the loss, promptly speak to your insurance company, and provide any documentation requested. If possible, any communication and documentation with your insurance company should be in writing. Keeping a record of the documentation provided helps insureds in their claims against an insurance company.

If you would like to discuss your post loss obligations, schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys at Alvarez Law Group today. Call us at (786) 620-2820 or email to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. *

[1] State Farm Florida Ins. Co. v. Jose R. Fernandez and Sandra Fernandez, No. 3D16-1441 (Fla. 3d DCA February 15, 2017)

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