Recently insurance companies and their lawyers have been making the argument that homeowners in Florida have no legal rights whatsoever to challenge the repair plan set forth by their own engineers. They base this argument on language in the policy and statute that they only have to pay for the repairs of their chosen engineer. Before you laugh to yourself and think how crazy that sounds, at least one Florida judge has bought into it. In theory, an insurance company could hire an engineer who could find sinkhole activity and recommend injecting cotton candy around the perimeter of the home and that homeowner would simply have to accept the sugary goodness that cotton candy is would prevent their home from further settlement. That homeowner would have no legal rights at all even though it would be that homeowner that would feel the effects of the loss of value to the home, the potential for future problems and and safety concerns of a failed repair. The insurance company does not care however because they will drop your coverage right after the repair is complete and you will never have sinkhole insurance ever again.
Now the insurance companies will like you to believe that if their repair doesn’t work, they will take care of the problem, no worries. Of course if the repair fails and you call to complain of ongoing problems, who do you think the insurance company will send back to your house to re-evaluate what to do? That’s right, the exact same engineer who said you would be fine in the first place. Now what do you think the chances of that engineer changing his opinion are and drafting you a new and better repair plan? Again, what do you think the defense will be for the insurance company? That’s right, we only pay for the repair our engineer recommends and now you, the homeowner, are right back where you started, alone. Amazingly, one judge has told a homeowner that they have zero rights to challenge the insurance company and just have to live with what they got. Stripping homeowners completely of their legal rights is when we know we need some major overhauls in our system.