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Florida Property Damage: Will I Always Get Money For Repairs?

Florida property owners are entitled to recover compensation for the full extent of the damages covered under their policy. Generally, we associate property insurance claims with the costs of making repairs, but in some cases repairs are not possible or are prohibitively expensive. In these situations, Florida property owners are instead able to recover damages for the diminished property value. If you believe that you may need to make a diminished property value claim, please contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale property insurance claims attorney for immediate legal help.

General Recovery Rules

General property damage recovery rules allow for a property owner to recover for expenses related to:

  • Replacement;
  • Repair; and
  • Restoration

However, in some cases repairs are not economically feasible. When the cost of restoring the property to its original condition exceeds the cost of the loss in market value, you will likely need to file a diminution of value claim. Your recovery will likely be limited to the loss in fair market value.

When Repairs Are Not Feasible

Diminished value claims are most often awarded when some fundamental form of economic damage occurs. Examples include construction defects, pest infestations and property damage resulting from events such as mold growth or sinkholes. Florida courts have found that diminished value awards make sense in these situations because the property damage cannot be rectified without substantial ‘economic waste’ occurring. For example, in a Orkin Exterminating Company, Inc. v. DelGuidice, a case involving repeated termite infestation, the court noted that there was no way to permanently eliminate the termites without knocking down the entire house and starting from scratch. The ‘injury’ sustained by the homeowner was, in effect, permanent. So, the homeowner was limited to recovery for the market value loss in their property.

Am I Getting Fair Market Value?

The calculation of fair market value is heavily disputed in many diminished value cases. For example, it can be more complicated to place a precise number on how much value was lost by recurring termite infestation. In this case even your own testimony as to the original value of your damaged property can be relevant. In First Interstate Development v. Ablanedo the court reasoned that property owners have a presumed intimate familiarity with the characteristics of their own property therefore their testimony can  be valuable. However, the court also noted that sentimental value has no bearing on the fair market value of a property. Ultimately, the testimony from a qualified expert witness is the best way to prove the full extent of your property losses. If there is a dispute over the fair market value of your property damage, you should have an experienced attorney comprehensively review your case.

Contact Our Florida Property Insurance Lawyers Today

The Florida property insurance lawyers at Geyer Fuxa Tyler will help you get the fair recovery you deserve. We will review your case and work aggressively to ensure that your rights are protected. If an insurance company has denied your claim, or refuses to pay you fair market value, we will help. Please call our office today at (954) 990-5251 to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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