Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Fire Claims?
After a house fire, you want to be able to make the repairs to your home and move on with your life as soon as possible. This can be a challenge when the insurance company denies your fire claim. You may be confused and frustrated when faced with such an insurance denial. And you may find yourself wondering how you’ll put your life back together.
There are many reasons insurance companies deny fire claims. It can help to know what they are so you’re better prepared.
Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Fire and Smoke Damages?
You must first determine whether your insurance policy even covers fire damage. Homeowners insurance policies vary, but typically, a basic homeowners insurance policy should cover costs from fire and smoke damage, water damage, and other issues.
Even if the smoke does not come from your house, so long as it damages your property, your insurance policy should cover this. That is, after all, what your premium payments are for. Despite this, sometimes there may be reasons insurance companies deny fire claims.
5 Common Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Fire Claims
There are few things more frustrating than filing a claim for fire damages only to receive a notice that your claim was denied. It’s a good idea to speak with an insurance agent to learn more about the denial. That said, here are a few of the most common reasons an insurance company might deny a fire claim.
1. Suspicion of Arson or Insurance Fraud
Although it may seem to the average person like more trouble than it’s worth, some homeowners will intentionally set a fire within their home to get the insurance payment. Because of this, insurance companies have become diligent in guarding against insurance fraud. If they suspect arson, they may deny your claim of fire damage. To appeal this claim, you will need to present evidence that there was no arson or insurance fraud involved.
2. Insufficient Evidence
Documentation is essential when filing an insurance claim. Take pictures of the damage to your home, as well as any personal items that were damaged in the fire. Any losses should be thoroughly itemized and backed up by evidence. If the insurance company finds that your claim has insufficient evidence, they may refuse to offer you coverage. If you feel you provided sufficient evidence and you were still denied, you can appeal, hire an attorney, and try to seek a settlement for your case.
3. Insufficient Coverage Amounts
Every homeowners insurance policy has a limit. This limit will vary depending on the specific insurance provider and your particular policy. Still, one thing is consistent: If the costs to repair your home exceeds your coverage amount, the insurance company will have to deny your claim.
If you filed an insurance claim or claims earlier in the year, your insurance company will have less money to cover your claim now. If the fire was so extensive that the condition of your home is beyond your coverage amount, they will not be able to approve your fire claim.
If you can afford it, you may seek insurance coverage with a higher limit. However, they will not be able to cover a fire insurance claim that occurred before your contract with the insurance company.
4. Defective Design or Workmanship
If the fire in your home was due to defective home design or workmanship, you probably won’t be able to make a successful insurance claim for fire damage. That is because most home construction companies — and manufacturing companies — have warranties on their products and workmanship. If your fire was caused by faulty workmanship, you’ll have better luck filing for a warranty with the manufacturer.
However, sometimes insurance companies that are trying to get out of paying will try to claim that the fire was caused by defective design or workmanship. If your claim was rejected for this reason, but you believe that to be in error, you may need to find a team of fire insurance claim lawyers who can help you appeal the issue.
5. Not Paying Your Premiums on Time
If you have a habit of not paying your premiums on time, your insurance company may not have the money to cover your fire damage claim. They may choose to deny the claim because, by not paying your premiums on time, you are already defaulting on your end of the contract.
It’s important to make sure you pay your premiums on time each month before an accident occurs. When you need to file a claim with your insurance company, you want to make sure you are in good standing with them. If you make your premium payments consistently, you will give your insurance company less reason to deny your claim when it comes time.
Don't Take on Insurance Companies Alone — Contact Us
Sometimes, even when you do everything right, the insurance company will still deny your claim for fire damage. Insurance adjusters will often approach your case not to get to the truth, but rather to ensure the insurance company pays as little as possible. They may even turn your own words against you to dismiss your claim. That’s why you don’t want to take on the insurance company alone.
At Daniels Law, we can help you stand up to the insurance company. We will represent your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and work to reach a fair settlement, so you don’t have to. Looking for skilled and compassionate representation after your house fire insurance claim was denied? Contact Daniels Law today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.