September 13, 2021
A fire can be one of the most devastating disasters a property owner can experience. For this reason, it’s essential to be appropriately insured if the event were to occur. Moreover, fire insurance claims can be a long and confusing process, so you will want to be informed if the time comes. Settling claims can be difficult, so read on ahead to learn tips about dealing with a fire claim settlement.
Meet Your Duties After a Loss so that You Can Assure Your Fire Claim Settlement
Below are a few important guidelines public adjusters recommend to make sure your rights and interests are protected while negotiating your fire claim settlement:
- Filing your fire claim as soon as possible.
- Taking reasonable steps to mitigate damage.
- Keeping up with your insurance claim process.
- Providing your insurer with all required documents and information.
- Ask your insurer if they have any other expectations for you.
Be sure you take numerous pictures of your damages and note any calls between you and your insurer. Include the date, time, name, and title of anyone involved in the conversation. In addition, describe the details, the outcome, and anything that requires follow-up. Equally important is to save invoices and receipts for any claim-related expenses you incur.
First, File Your Insurance Claim Right Away In Order to Make the Most Out of Your Fire Claim Settlement
Most insurance companies require property owners to report their loss as soon as is reasonably possible. In fact, most insurers have a predetermined time limit for you to file your claim. Therefore, it’s a good idea to call or send an email as promptly as you can.
Once you do, your insurer will ask you to fill out a “proof of loss claim”. In it you will itemize your losses and list the value. At this time, a home inventory would come in handy.
Remember, when dealing with an insurance company, you need to be organized. So, keep track of any calls, emails, and letters you share with your insurer. They can be crucial pieces of evidence if any dispute arises between you and the company. Take notes during every phone call, and organize your communication. In addition, make a point to store estimates, invoices, bills, permits, and contracts for repairs. Never part with an original document, so if your insurance company wants to see an invoice or bid, make it a copy.
Second, Secure Your Property Against Further Damage to Ensure Your Fire Claim Settlement
Every insurance policy requires you to take reasonable steps to mitigate damages to your property. For instance, covering an opening on the roof with a plastic tarp until you can get it repaired or boarding up a hole to prevent vandalism.
Your insurance company will pay these costs when you make your claim. But be sure to take photos of things at their worst before you mitigate the damage.
Make Sure the Insurance Company Acts Promptly to Issue Your Fire Claim Settlement
Fortunately, state laws require insurance companies to handle claims promptly. For example, they must send you a “notice of intentions” within 30 days of receiving your claim in California.
Therefore, if you feel that your insurer is unnecessarily delaying your fire claim settlement, contact your state’s Department of Insurance.
Keep Track of Your Daily Living Expenses While Living Outside Your Home and Get an Advance From the Insurer Against Your Costs of Living
Sometimes a disaster might force you to evacuate your home temporarily. In fact, you maybe even didn’t have time to take basic necessities with you, such as a toothbrush or clothes. But don’t worry, most homeowners’ policies cover the cost of replacement and temporary housing.
Your policy includes a “loss of use” clause, which entitles you to reimbursement for living expenses while you’re out of your home. However, you’re entitled only to additional living expenses. Thus, it only covers the difference between what it costs you to live daily at home and what it costs now.
Moreover, you don’t have to wait until your insurer settles your claim to purchase the goods or finds a place to stay. Instead, ask your company for an advance against your eventual claim. Finally, save the receipts for everything you buy, and be reasonable about the things you buy.
What if you’re living with friends or family? Many evacuees do so. However, although you probably aren’t paying your hosts, you could be able to convince your insurance company to reimburse them for the cost of putting you up. Ask your hosts to itemize the value of the room and services they’re providing. Be reasonable, and be prepared to negotiate with your insurance company over this one. It might help to point out how much more the company would have had to shell out if you chose to stay in a hotel and eat in a restaurant.
Three Things To Consider When Dealing with a Fire Claim Settlement
Ask Yourself These Questions Before Accepting a Fire Claim Settlement
Before you decide to accept a fire claim settlement from the insurance company, here are three things to consider:
Have I taken all the necessary steps to claim every loss and damage to your property?
Insurance coverage becomes more complex with the size of the property, how you use the property, the types of structures it features, and the magnitude of the damage. For example, a commercial insurance claim may require several different claims for different types of damage. In fact, even categorizing the different levels of damage from a major fire can be complex since they may include direct damages from the blaze, heat damage, smoke damage, and water damage from putting out the fire. With so many layers of coverage and loss, it’s certainly easy to miss compensation, specifically if you’re not familiar with insurance policy language.
Did I provide appropriate documentation to back up your fire claim settlement?
A mistake in estimates or general claim records can hurt your claim. Even missing a single assessment or piece of documentation can cost you your fire claim settlement. Moreover, suppose you haven’t provided enough detail in preparing a record of your losses. In that case, you may be severely limiting your recovery, as well as inadvertently provoking a future dispute over the repair and replacement costs.
Do I fully understand the value of my fire claim?
Insurance coverage and coverage needs change over time. You might be wrongfully confident your insurer will cover you after a fire if you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for property owners to overlook coverage they are entitled to or accept low-ball fire claim settlements from the insurance company. In short, if you don’t understand your fire insurance coverage, then you can’t make informed decisions about when to accept a fire claim settlement. A public adjuster can review any offer you receive, offer further guidance and help you negotiate.
Get Help Maximizing Your Fire Claim Settlement
Your fire claim is too important to risk uninformed decisions. Therefore, it’s crucial you carefully review all fire claim settlement offers with your public adjuster. Be prepared to protect your priorities if your insurance company fails to do so. Moreover, if you believe that your claim has been unfairly denied, underpaid, or inexplicably delayed, don’t hesitate to reach out to a public adjuster for help. Finally, assert your policyholder rights and demand that your insurance company handle your claim in good faith.
Best way to beat the insurance company is to hire AllCity Adjusting
At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.
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