Theft Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Experienced Theft Attorney in Florida: Know Your Rights for a Theft Insurance Claim
If you have experienced a theft, you may be feeling violated, angry, and confused about where to turn for help. Once you deal with reporting the incident to the police, the next logical step is to turn to your insurance policy to cover your losses. Unfortunately for many policyholders, they find they are not covered for theft. Or they find that they cannot sufficiently support a claim for theft. This means that most insurance companies will give policyholders a hard time about their theft insurance claim. Sometimes it may even sound like your own insurance company does not believe you. They may even deny your claim after it is very obvious that you suffered a loss. If this happens to you, call our experienced theft attorneys in Fort Lauderdale to learn how we can fight back to recover the reimbursement you deserve for a theft loss.
Here at Schlacter Law, we do not think it is fair if you have been diligently paying your premium for years but your insurance company will not honor their obligation to cover your loss. Insurance policies are often littered with industry-specific language that an average policyholder may not be able to interpret. This is when having the experienced advice of a theft insurance attorney in Fort Lauderdale is vital to supporting your claim. Our knowledgeable lawyers represent individuals and companies that have suffered a theft and need to submit an insurance claim so that they can fairly recover their losses under their policy.
Call Schlacter Law Before Calling a Public Adjuster
The first place that many individuals and businesses may turn after any type of loss in Florida may be a public adjuster, or PA. A public adjuster is an insurance professional that can help evaluate and submit a claim to an insurance company and then negotiate for a person or business to recover compensation under a claim.
While a PA is a great option for individuals, a theft insurance claim attorney is a better option. There are many reasons for this, including the following:
- PAs get paid up to 20% of the claim reimbursement while a theft lawyer may have his or her attorney’s fees paid by the insurance company, which is added to the reimbursement amount—not subtracted from it. This means that a policyholder will generally receive more money from a theft loss using an attorney rather than a PA
- Having a law license like a theft claim lawyer is a huge advantage over a PA who does not have a law license, especially when it comes down to arguing complex insurance policies, exclusions, and exceptions
- Lawyers can enforce your rights and seek legal remedies in court, whereas a PA cannot institute a lawsuit. Insurance companies know this and may play unfairly with a PA in a war of attrition. Our lawyers at Schlacter Law will simply not let that happen. We will hire experts and force an insurance company to play fair to face the consequences in a court of law—something that insurance companies do not like to do because they will usually be required to pay our attorney’s fees.
Theft Insurance in Florida
Most standard policies will include some form of coverage for theft, but some may not. Policies vary significantly in terms of coverage. Some policies have built-in coverage for common items that are stolen while others have a limitation in the amount that is covered. In other words, theft insurance can vary substantially from policy to policy.
Insurance premiums are high in Florida. Consequently, insurers have been known to exclude some coverages from policies in order to offer lower rates. Although it makes a premium more attractive for a policyholder, it also lessens the risk substantially for the insurer and can leave a policyholder at risk for losses. When it comes to matters of theft insurance, this is particularly true for homeowners who use their property as a second home that may sit vacant for part of the year in Fort Lauderdale.
Are You Covered for Theft Under Your Policy?
Although theft is often considered a given with a homeowners policy, it is not. Theft can be considered a named peril and must be specified within the policy as such. Consequently, if your policy does not list it, it may not cover you for any theft losses.
Even when your policy does include theft coverage, it may exclude certain things like boats or watercraft. These will only be covered as added endorsements to the policy. But in Florida, boats and other watercraft and commonly owned and highly used vehicles. This also makes them common targets for theft. If an insurance company denies coverage because there is none, it could result in a hardship for property owners. This is why it is extremely important for a policyholder to understand their coverage before an act of theft occurs.
Theft Vs. Vandalism
When it comes to theft insurance in Fort Lauderdale, it is important to note the difference between vandalism and theft. Either coverage is not a given and must be specifically set out in the policy. Some policies will cover for one but not the other. The “cause of loss” can further complicate a claim. It is important to understand the distinction and how an insurer may deny a claim accordingly.
The Florida Association of Insurance Agents specifically addresses definitions as they apply to theft insurance.  When it becomes a disagreement in terms of vandalism versus theft, the guidance of a theft insurance claim lawyer in Florida is critical.
What Evidence is Required to Prove a Theft Claim?
Carefully supporting a claim is critical when it comes to theft insurance. A police report should be very specific regarding losses. A policyholder will want to keep track of timing of the incident and timing of the call to the police. The more information that a policyholder can give to police, the more likely that the police report will have better information in it to help support your claim. This is crucial when submitting the claim to your insurance carrier.
The insured will need to compile a list of all items that have been stolen with their corresponding value. If a security system was activated, it is important to take note of when the alarm sounded and what action was subsequently taken.
Although this information is vitally important, other evidence is equally critical. As a policyholder, you must establish some important things to support your claim. Often, an insurer will question the ownership of the stolen items. Having proof of purchase, such as contracts and receipts, is vital when it comes to proving ownership in support of your theft claim. Depending on the terms of the policy, it may also be important to prove that the property was not vacant at the time of the theft.
Is Your Settlement Sufficient?
It is important to note that a first settlement is often insufficient and will often require further investigation and negotiation. As a policyholder, you are not required to accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer. In most cases, settlements offered by insurance companies require negotiation in order to come to a fair resolution.
Unfortunately, many policyholders do not have a complete understanding of their coverage or understand the need for supporting documentation to satisfy their claim. Many insurance companies will use that lack of supporting documentation or evidence as a reason to reduce a settlement or deny a claim.
In these cases, having the representation of an experienced theft attorney in Fort Lauderdale can make the difference between a fair settlement of one that is not sufficient to cover your losses. At Schlacter Law we have extensive experience collaborating with and negotiating theft insurance settlements with large insurance companies so policyholders are fairly compensated for losses due to theft acts.
What Happens When Your Claim Has Been Denied or Shortchanged?
If your claim has been denied, it is important to understand the reason for the denial. The insurer may be disputing the scope of the coverage or even the value of the property that was stolen. In terms of value, they may argue depreciation and offer a settlement that is substantially less than the true value of the stolen items.
As a policyholder, you have the right to a fair settlement and even the right to litigate should this be impossible to achieve through negotiation.
How Can a Theft Insurance Claim Attorney Help?
If you have been denied a theft claim, you have a right to appeal the insurance company’s offer. In these cases, getting the advice and guidance of a theft attorney in Fort Lauderdale is critical. We can help to investigate your claim including hiring experts to establish valuation and submit a stronger claim than if you tried to do it alone or with a public adjuster. If an insurance company will still not play fair, we can seek your legal remedies in court to ensure that the insurance carrier pays what you deserve.
There is No Risk to Hiring Schlacter Law for Your Insurance Claim After a Theft
At Schlacter Law, we have extensive experience fighting for the rights of policyholders in matters of insurance claims in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida. We understand insurance terminology, the burden of proof when it comes to supporting a claim, and the legal rights of policyholders who have been shortchanged in the settlement of a valid theft claim. If you or your business suffered a serious loss after a theft and the insurance company is not fair paying out your claim, call for a FREE consultation by dialing (305) 999-1111 to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation under your policy.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a theft insurance claim lawsuit?
The time you have to file a lawsuit against an insurance company for a theft insurance claim that is not being handled fairly depends on many factors. This time limit, in general, is called the statute of limitations period, and it is a mandatory part of every case. If you try to file a lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations period, it can result in your claim being automatically denied. Ask one of our experienced insurance claim lawyers at Schlacter Law how long you have to file a theft insurance claim lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale.
Can I hire a theft claim lawyer even if I have a public adjuster?
Yes, even if you already have a public adjuster you are able to hire a theft claim lawyer under Florida law. In fact, you can hire a lawyer at any stage of the representation by a public adjuster. Usually this happens when the PA cannot obtain a settlement to your liking or if the claim is denied, but other times a policyholder may want to hire a lawyer if the claim is taking too long, the insurance company is pushing around the PA, or it looks like you will not get the compensation that you deserve. But anytime a policyholder seeks to have a theft insurance claim lawyer on their side, they are allowed to call and hire one like one of ours in Fort Lauderdale at Schlacter Law.
How much does a theft insurance claim lawyer cost in Florida?
Generally, nothing! This is because the insurance company will usually be required to pay for your attorney’s fees under the policy and Florida law. Having a theft claim lawyer can save you money, offer you more tools to help resolve your claim, and even get your faster settlements because the insurance company will be liable for paying your attorney’s fees. This gives insurance companies more incentive to quickly pay your claim rather than dragging it out and allowing attorney’s fees to accumulate. Ask our Fort Lauderdale theft insurance claim lawyers how we can help today in a FREE consultation.