The Right To Repair Means The Insurance Company Needs To Repair Correctly
We have written in the past about the differences between policies that allow an insurance company to fix or repair your damage themselves, as opposed to other kinds of policies, which may allow you to hire your own contractors, oversee the repairs, fix or repair the property and then seek reimbursement.
It used to be that insurance companies didn’t want to undertake the obligation to fix your property. They aren’t construction companies, and don’t want responsibility if something isn’t fixed properly or quickly enough.
Insurance Companies Are Opting to Fix Things Themselves
But nowadays, more and more, insurance companies are opting for policies that give them the ability to fix or repair your property. This gives them, and not you, control over contractors, over the work performed, and generally takes the repair of your own property out of your own hands.
But what happens when an insurance company elects to repair your property, but it does so slowly, or it delays repair, or the repair is substandard?
A recent case dealt with just this issue. The case said that when an insurance company opts to repair your property itself, it is in effect creating a brand new contract between the homeowner and the insurance company. This “new contract” requires the insurance company to conduct repairs in a quick and timely manner–as quick as would be commercially reasonable.
The work performed by the insurance company’s contractors must return the property to its pre-damaged condition.
Damages Can Exceed the Policy
The “best” part (not that there’s anything good about an insurance company messing up needed repairs on your property) is that should the insurance company breach this new construction contract, whether because of delay or because of poor work on the property, they can be sued for any damages that the breach causes–even damages that aren’t allowed under, or covered under, the actual insurance contract.
These damages can be significant, and often venture into construction law-related damages, which can have their own set of rules as to what and what is not owed when there are mistakes in construction projects.
Construction law even allows you to sue, should the repairs be functionally fine, but aesthetically unpleasing, such that the property is lowered in value, or that it can’t be said the property is back in the condition that it was before the damage.
This also means that you as the homeowner don’t have to go through many of the contractual requirements, like notice, giving the insurance company certain time periods to investigate, submitting yourself to interviews, or other requirements that may normally be imposed on you by the original insurance contract.
Will Contracts Change?
Whether this change in the tide in the law changes insurance companies to go back to allowing homeowners to oversee their own repairs and just get paid back, remains to be seen. But it at least puts the insurance company on notice that it has some responsibilities that go along with its right to repair your property.
Contact the Miami property damage insurance claims attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help with your homeowners insurance claim or lawsuit.