Was your home or business hit by lightning that caused damage? Is your insurance company refusing to pay for the damage or low balling your claim? This could include damage to your home and/or building as well as damage to the interior items like electronics and computers. Make sure that you don’t just accept what the insurance company is telling you. Make sure you have your claim reviewed for free by Christopher Ligori & Associates so that you know you are being treated fairly.
I have seen homes destroyed by fire due to a lightning strike or interior damage due to lightning traveling through wires and destroying expensive electronic equipment like tv’s and computers. The insurance company may want you to fill out and sign something called a proof of loss, which is a sworn statement signed by you stating exactly what your loss is. If you don’t complete this form correctly, the insurance company could consider that a material misrepresentation and deny your claim.
They also usually ask you to fill out a personal property inventory lists which require you to list each item you had in the house that was destroyed, the original price of the items and then the “ACV” based on the age of the item. ACV stands for “Actual Cash Value”. This is in contrast to “RCV” or replacement cost value. Basically, ACV is a payment made with a deduction for depreciation and RCV is the cost it would take to actually replace the item. We often recommend that people review their policy to make sure they have replacement cost for both the building and their personal property. Otherwise, your insurance company may only be responsible to pay you for the actual cash value. It is always important to read your policy, but the typical language is as follows:
3. Loss Settlement. Covered property losses are settled as follows:
a. Property of the following types:
(1) Personal Property;
(2) Awnings, carpeting, household appliance, outdoor antennas and outdoor equipment, whether or not attached to buildings, and
(3) Structures that are not buildings
At actual cash value at the time of loss, but not more than the amount required to repair or replace.
b. Buildings under Coverage A or B at replacement cost without deduction for depreciation, subject to the following:
(1) If, at the time of loss, the amount of insurance in this policy on the damaged building is 80% or more of the full replacement cost of the building immediately before the loss, we will pay the cost or repair or replace, after application of deductible and without deduction for depreciation, but not more that the least of the following amounts:
(a) The limit of liability under this policy that applies to the building;
(b) The replacement cost of that part of the building damaged for like construction and use on the same premises, or
(c) The necessary amount actually spent to repair or replace the damaged building.
(2) If, at the time of loss, the amount of insurance in this policy on the damaged building is less than 80% of the full replacement cost of the building immediately before the loss, we will pay the greater of the following amounts, but not more than the limit of liability under this policy that applies to the building:
(a) The actual cash value of that part of the building damaged, or
(b) The proportion of the cost to repair or replace, after application of deductible and without deduction for depreciation, that part of the building damaged, which the total amount of insurance in this policy on the damaged building bears to 80% of the replacement cost of the building.
For example, if you have a fire and you lose your television and only have actual cash value coverage if the television was 4 years old, the insurance company will only owe you for a 4-year-old television which maybe 40% less than the cost of a new one.
Even if you have a policy that states the insurance company owes you actual cash value until you repair or replace and then you get the depreciation held back to put you at replacement cost value, how actual cash value is calculated can become important. Florida adheres to the Broad Evidence Rule for determining the actual cash value of the destroyed property. Under this rule, any evidence logically tending to establish a correct estimate of the value of the damaged or destroyed property may be considered by the jury to determine “actual cash value”. Court’s have defined the term as “the actual value expressed in terms of money of the thing for the purpose for which it was used.”
Also, it can be difficult to recall how much you paid and how much depreciation you should take depending on your coverage. This would be included in your proof of loss and if it is incorrect, this could cause many problems for you in the claims process or during the examination under oath. Don’t go this alone. We can assist you at Christopher Ligori & Associates and make sure you get through each stage of the claims process and get the amount of money your deserve to rebuild