How To File Fire Damage Claims
No one wants to have to contend with a house fire. Even minor property damage caused by fire will likely result in repairs and possible destruction of beloved belongings. Major fire damage to your house could mean having to move suddenly. If you live in an area where wildfires are common, such as California, fire damage may be a present fear every time wildfire season comes around.
It may seem overwhelming at the time to have to file for fire damage claims with the insurance company. But this is a critical step to ensure you can afford any needed repairs — whether a temporary repair or a replacement cost — or expenses.
Unsure how to file for a claim for fire damage or how long you have to file? In today’s blog, we'll dive into all you need to know about fire insurance claims.
The Claims Process
When a fire damages your home, filing a fire damage claim with the insurance company is essential to moving forward. If your claim is approved, the insurance company can cover some of the costs of repairs to your home or replace certain home features destroyed in the fire. Your policy may also cover the replacement of personal items damaged in the fire.
The claims process may seem daunting, but it is simpler than you might realize. However, you need to take careful steps to make a solid claim for fire damages so that the insurance company can’t find a loophole to get away with not paying.
Below are the four steps of the claim process you will need to follow to file a homeowners insurance claim for fire damages successfully:
1. Document Losses and Damage to Personal Property
Once your family is safe, and the fire is put out, the first thing you need to do is document everything. Take pictures of the damage to your home. If any personal property was destroyed, take photos of this, too. Create an itemized list of everything that was damaged, and provide the value of each item. The more documentation you have, the more solid your claim will be when you bring it to the insurance company.
2. Verify Home Insurance Coverage
Before you file your house fire insurance claim, you will need to verify your home insurance coverage. What does your homeowners insurance policy cover? Home insurance usually offers protection for your personal belongings from “perils” like fire or lightning. Accidental fires are often covered. Some insurance policies even include additional living expense coverage in the event of a total wildfire loss.
But not all home insurance policies are the same. They will vary depending on your insurance carrier and even the individual insurance policy. So what about things like structural damage? How does the type of loss come into play? It’s vital that you know the exact wording of your plan so that you can be sure you’re covered.
If your home insurance coverage includes fire damage to your personal property, call to file an insurance claim with an insurance agent.
3. Work With Insurance Adjusters
The insurance company will not simply take your word for it when you file a claim for fire damage. Instead, they will send out insurance adjusters to investigate the claim. The job of an insurance adjuster is to investigate the fire damage claim and determine whether the insurance company should pay and how much they should pay.
Provide insurance adjusters with all the documentation you collected after the fire. The insurance adjusters will likely also want to interview you and anyone who was involved or witnessed the house fire. Cooperating with insurance adjusters as they conduct their investigation is to your benefit.
At the end of the investigation, the insurance adjuster will share their findings. You will know what the insurance company is willing to do for you. Your insurance adjuster will review your options and give you the information you may need to follow up on your claim.
4. Hire an Attorney When Necessary
You may not always need to hire a fire lawyer to file a fire damage claim with the insurance company. In some cases, the process may go smoothly, and you will receive your coverage as soon as possible. However, having legal representation on your side is never a bad idea.
At the end of the day, the insurance company is a business. Their goal is to make money, and sometimes that might mean paying as little as possible. While everyone hopes to be treated fairly by their insurance company, insurance adjusters often use their skills to trip up homeowners and turn the case against them.
An attorney can help defend your case and even handle any negotiations with insurance adjusters. If the insurance company refuses to pay even after they agreed to do so, your attorney can help apply pressure to ensure you get the coverage you need when you need it.
In other cases, your insurance company may deny your claim for fire damage despite your informed understanding that you should be approved for the claim. An attorney can review your case and see if you were unjustly denied. If so, they can help you pursue action against the insurance company and get the compensation you deserve.
You’re Not in This Alone
A house fire can be a devastating disaster, as emotionally upsetting as it is financially trying. You may feel that you and your family are at a loss. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this alone. If you feel bullied or snubbed by the insurance company while you attempt to recover and move on from your life, reach out to our team at Daniels Law.
Our firm has experience with cases ranging from personal injury to wildfire and more. We have helped our clients stand up to their insurance companies and get the coverage they deserve after their fire claim. In cases when the insurance company still refuses to pay, you have the support of our team of specialized trial lawyers.
If your insurance case is complex and frustrating, we’re the law firm to help you get justice. Contact Daniels Law today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.