Understanding Property Insurance: Policy Exclusions vs. Policy Limitations
For homeowners and business owners in South Florida, a good property insurance policy is critically important. You need the appropriate insurance coverage to ensure that your valuable financial investment is adequately protected. However, just because you have purchased insurance does not mean that you will be covered against every possible type or cause of loss. Indeed, your policy may be subject to many different restrictions. Here, our Fort Lauderdale property insurance lawyers discuss policy exclusions and policy limitations, two common issues that could result in your claim being denied or delayed.
What is a Policy Exclusion?
A property insurance policy exclusion is a provision contained within your policy language that explicitly declares that certain types of loss will not be covered by your policy. Essentially, the “exclusions” contained within your policy are the exceptions to the general statement of property insurance coverage. Of course, property insurance policies vary considerably. So, there may be many different types of loss that are excluded within your specific policy. Some examples of losses that are frequently subject to policy exclusions in Florida include:
- Certain infestations;
- Pre-existing damage; and
- Loss caused by government action.
Of course, this does not mean that you cannot get insurance for the excluded types of losses. It simply means that you will need to obtain supplemental coverage (at an additional cost) to ensure that you are protected.
What is a Policy Limitation?
Though often confused, a policy “limitation” is distinct from a policy “exclusion.” They are similar in the sense that a limitation will also restrict coverage in certain circumstances. However, with policy limitations, the issue is not quite so straightforward as it is with exclusions. A limitation may stop coverage for a certain period of time, though not necessary through the entire length of your policy. Alternatively, a policy limitation may put an upper cap on the value of your recovery. Ultimately, it is important to pay close attention to any limitations within your policy.
Insurance Companies Have a Duty to Write Clear Policies
If there are any exclusions or limitations within your property insurance policy, and your insurer is relying on one of those provisions to deny (or restrict) your coverage, you may need to take legal action. Policy exclusions and limitations are frequently the subject of litigation. All too often, insurance companies will craft vague language and then will try to use it to inappropriately deny coverage. Florida courts have determined that insurers have a legal duty to write clear policies, so that consumers actually have a chance to understand what kind of coverage they are purchasing. If there are two reasonable interpretations of a policy exclusion or limitation, then Florida courts will generally interpret the language in the manner that is most favorable to the policyholder.
Contact Our Property Insurance Lawyers Today
If you are in a dispute with your insurance company over an alleged policy exclusion, please reach out to our legal team today. We will review your claim for free, with no strings attached, so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed in your case. At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, we represent property owners throughout Broward County, including in Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines.