Fla. Policyholders Being Dropped After Hurricanes

October 8, 2004

After going through four hurricanes, some residents have reportedly been dropped by their insurance company. But before an insurance company can drop or change someone’s policy, there are legal steps they must take first.

It’s not against the law for an insurance company to drop someone or change their homeowner’s policy, but there must be a valid written reason for the cancellation. The reason has to be more than just extensive hurricane damage from multiple storms.

Some insurance companies are reportedly trying to cancel or change policies for people who live in what they consider high risk areas.

Insurance attorney Andrew Epstien said they can’t do that unless they have a clearly stated and valid reason. “The law is written so that it protects against these very issues of being stuck out in the cold when they’ve made a claim,” said Epstein.

Florida law states that claims on property insurance that are the result of an act of God may not be used as a cause for cancellation or non-renewal. Epstein added that insurance companies cannot single out one home in a neighborhood.

“They cannot select you and you alone to cancel your policy based on one event,” said Epstein.

But over time multiple delinquencies can result in immediate cancellation. The bottom line – know one’s policy.

“If you’re in the situation where your insurance company has given you a notice you must read that notice,” said Epstein.

All insurance companies must also give individuals 45-days written notice in order to cancel any policy that is 90-days or older.

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