Written Formal Notice Rescinded Sue Stanger asked 8 months ago
Written Formal Notice Rescinded

I filed a property damage claim with my home insurance company and it was approved. An estimate detailing the scope of work and cost was sent and also another email that stated “This letter constitutes formal notice” and went on to say they were “exercising their right repair” and would “restore my home to its pre-loss condition.” Not long after that, I received another email asking if I would rather have a check for six grand. With about sixty grand worth of damage, I opted for their contractors to do the work. Their response to that was to put the check in the mail anyway and dodge my phone calls.

My question is, is there anything legally binding about formal notice? I’ve looked online and all I can find is formal notice in probate law and information about contracts. Could this be considered a contract?

1 Answers
Answer for Written Formal Notice Rescinded United Policyholders Staff answered 7 months ago

Dear Sue,

We definitely support your instinct that your insurer’s letter of “formal notice” of “exercising their right to repair” does create a legally binding obligation on their part to complete the repairs.

We do not think you should accept or cash the check for $6,000 and instead should demand either (a) full payment of what we gather is your contractor’s estimate of $60,000 or (b) that the insurance company’s chosen contractor complete the repairs – in full – pursuant to their election of their “right to repair.”

As a disclaimer, we are not able to conduct a full review of Florida statutes and legal cases to provide you a definitive answer. Furthermore, the answer depends on the specific language included in the letter from your insurance company as well as particular terms in your policy and potentially other Florida laws. To get a more definite answer, you may want to consider finding a Florida attorney to review the specifics of your claim. Consider using UP’s “Find Help” directory to begin looking for insurance recovery attorneys in your area. https://uphelp.org/recovery/professional-help-directory/

That said, there are Florida cases that support your position. One Florida court has written: “[W]hen the insurer makes its election to repair, that election is binding upon the insured and creates a new contract under which the insurer is bound to [perform repairs] within a reasonable time.” Drew v. Mobile USA Insurance Co., 920 So. 2d 832, 835 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006) (quoting Travelers Indem. Co. v. Parkman, 300 So. 2d 284, 285 (Fla. 4th DCA 1974)). Similarly, another Florida court has written: “Therefore, in a situation where the option to repair has been invoked, the insured and the insurer would become parties to a separate repair contract wherein the insurer is obligated to perform repairs which will adequately return the insured property to its pre-loss condition.” Vainberg v. Avatar Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 321 So. 3d 231, 235 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021) (citing Siegle v. Progressive Consumers Ins. Co., 819 So. 2d 732, 739 (Fla. 2002)).

We wish you the best of luck resolving your claim.