How do I get an insurance company to settle property loss claim?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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How do I get an insurance company to settle property loss claim?

We own a condo in Florida and the condo above us
destroyed our condo with water leak and mold.
Our insurance company finished the rebuild but, We are
fighting the homeowners insurance company for our
property loss of 18,000.
They keep delaying Security First Insurance.
I have a copy of the owners insurance policy and the policy
expires Sept 1, 2019
Are they still liable for our loss? How do we get resolution to
our claim?

Asked on August 12, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The upstairs neighbor's insurer is not directly liable to you and in fact has no obligation to you: their insurer is THEIR insurer and their obligation is to defend their insured in court and/or to pay for them if they are ordered (by a court) to pay. Often--but not always--the insurer will elect to pay or offer something voluntarily, if they believe that the damaged party (e.g. you) will likely sue and win, since if they will be sued and lose, why not offer to pay and save the cost of litigation? But that's voluntary on the insurer's part: they don't have to pay claims against their insured if they don't want to, unless their insured is sued and loses in court. Therefore, the only way to attempt to force them to pay is to sue the at-fault homeowner and prove in court with evidence (by a "preponderance of the evidence," or "more likely than not") that they were in fact at fault; if you can do that, they or their insurer should pay. If you can't prove fault, however, neither they nor their insurer must pay. Fault in this context means negligence or carelessness: you must prove that the homeowner did something careless contributing to or causing the leak. If they were blameless in the leak--ie. it occured through no fault of theirs--they and their insurer are not liable (this way may be why their insurer is not paying, by the way: they may believe their insured is not at fault).
The expiration date of the policy is irrelevant: the insurer is liable for all loses caused by an at-fault insured while the policy was in effect, even if the policy expires or terminates after the loss.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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