All-Risk Property Insurance Policy Disputes: Who Has the Burden of Proof?
Evidentiary standards matter. Which party has the burden of proof, and what exactly they are required to prove, will go a long way towards determining who actually prevails in the dispute. As with all other legal disputes, the burden of proof is an important issue in all Florida property insurance cases.
In these types of legal claims, the side that has the legal burden of proof will depend largely on the circumstances of the dispute. In fact, at certain times, the burden can shift from the policyholder to the insurance company, or vice versa.
Here, our dedicated Fort Lauderdale property insurance lawyers consider all-risk property insurance claims, explaining when the burden of proof will be on you (the property owner) and when it will be on the insurance company.
The Insured Party Has the Initial Burden to Prove Coverage
As a general matter, in all aspects of civil litigation, the plaintiff has the initial burden to prove his or her case. If you are the one bringing the case, you should expect to be required to prove the important issues. This same basic rule applies to property insurance disputes. That being said, in reference to all-risk insurance policies, the initial burden of proof in not a heavy one. In fact, with all-risk policies there is a general presumption for coverage on the issue of cause of loss. The policyholder simply has the initial burden of proving that their property damage occurred within the specified coverage period. If that can be done by a preponderance of evidence, then the burden of proof will shift over to the insurance company, and the company will need to prove that there is good cause to deny the policyholder’s claim.
The Burden Quickly Shifts to the Insurance Company
Most all-risk property insurance policies that are offered in the state of Florida contain some exclusions. With these coverage exclusions, there will be some causes of loss that are not simply covered. However, for damage to be denied due to an exclusion contained within an all-risk policy, the insurance company must be able to prove that the damage was actually caused by excluded loss. That burden is placed on the insurance company. Further, when property damage is caused by multiple perils, which occurs in many cases, Florida courts use the concurrent causation doctrine to determine whether or not there will be coverage under the terms of the policy. In these types of all-risk policy cases, the insurance company has the burden of proving that the recovery should be denied.
Request Your Free Property Insurance Dispute Consultation Today
At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, we have extensive experience handling claims involving all-risk property insurance policies. If your claim was denied due to a policy exclusion, let our legal team help. To set up your free case evaluation, please call us today at (954) 990-5251. Our office in located in Sunrise, FL and we serve property owners throughout Broward County, including in Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, Hollywood, Plantation and Davie.