When you have a fire at your home or business, it can turn your world upside down. Not only do you have to worry about what you lost, but you might be displaced until the damage can be remediated and repaired.
A fire insurance claim provides the resources you need to restore order to your life.
If your insurance company denies your claim or doesn’t provide a timely response, you need someone on your side. An experienced insurance dispute or property damages claim lawyer understands how to get the process back on track and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Potential Problems in the Fire Insurance Claim Process
You pay your insurance premiums every year to ensure that you have coverage in place if the unthinkable happens. After disaster strikes, you rightfully expect your insurer to step up and pay your claim.
Unfortunately, your claim can be held up for a variety of reasons. Often the problem is simply a mistake or miscommunication on the insurance company’s part. In other cases, you could encounter potential bad faith issues, where the insurer:
- Refuses to investigate your claim,
- Delays paying your claim,
- Undervalues your claim,
- Makes false or misleading statements, or
- Wrongfully denies your claim.
Meanwhile, you have no way to restore your home or business or get reimbursed for the funds you’ve already spent.
Fire Insurance Claim Tips
Submitting a fire insurance claim requires documenting the damages you incurred. Typically, you must provide information and documents such as:
- Photographs or videos of your property before the fire,
- Photographs or videos of the damage the property sustained,
- Detailed lists of all damaged or destroyed items, and
- Contractor estimates for repairs.
Your policy may require you to dry out, clean up, and secure your home or business immediately after a fire, storm, or any other property damage event. If so, you should also include paid receipts for the following services as part of your claim:
- Damage remediation,
- Board-up and security measures,
- Any item you already replaced, and
- Any covered out-of-pocket expenses.
If you plan to submit your claim yourself, you may struggle to determine the accurate value of your claim. Estimating the value of your fire insurance claim settlement is only one part of the process where a fire insurance claims attorney can assist you.
Insurance companies often significantly underestimate fire damage claims. Smoke damage often requires extensive interior repairs or replacement of personal property that cannot be fully restored to its pre-fire condition. Examples of some items that are often undervalued or overlooked by insurance companies include:
- Refinishing floors;
- Repainting the interior of the home;
- Replacing drywall that sustained significant smoke exposure;
- Fully repairing electrical and ventilation systems;
- Replacing insulation;
- Replacement of an entire roof rather than a patch job.
In many cases, the property owner will be required to make significant code upgrades. For example, building codes may require the home’s electrical system or roof to be fully replaced due to the extent of the damage from the fire. These are items that insurance companies tend to overlook because they cost a lot of money.
The task of creating a content list can be daunting. If you have suffered a significant fire you may have hundreds of items that have been damaged, destroyed, or are need of restoration.
With our clients, we often have them start by reviewing a master list of common household items and have them work backward to create a thorough contents list.
How a Property Claims Lawyer Can Help
Talking to a property claim lawyer, such as one of the fire insurance claim lawyers at the Johns Law Firm, can help at any stage of the process.
Whether you need assistance building and submitting your claim or you’ve already run into problems with the insurance company, an attorney can provide invaluable assistance.
Calculating the value of your claim requires identifying and documenting your damages.
Damages in a fire insurance claim might include costs for:
- Debris removal and cleanup,
- Repairing or rebuilding your home or business,
- Repairing or replacing damaged personal property,
- Temporary accommodations and expense, and
- Direct or out-of-pocket expenses.
To get started, your lawyer will need a copy of your insurance policy and the insurer’s contact information.
From there, your lawyer will handle this complex process and deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
Talk to a Fire Insurance Lawyer for Help
Your property insurance policy likely requires you to notify the insurer of damage and submit your claim within a short window of time. If you experienced a fire at your home or business, contact the Johns Law Firm as soon as possible.
We fight to get you an advance on your claim immediately, so you can access the resources you need. We help protect your legal rights and compel the insurer to address your claim in a timely manner. If necessary, we won’t hesitate to take the matter to court to fight for your right to compensation.
For a free consultation to discuss your fire insurance claim, contact us today.