Fire Damage Claims: What You Need to Know
When you own a home, you want to ensure you are doing everything to protect one of your most massive investments. As such, you have homeowner’s insurance coverage to ensure you can receive compensation should something go wrong with your home and cause significant damage.
One of the biggest problems a homeowner can encounter is a large fire. Fires are dangerous, whether they are isolated incidents in your home or a wildfire that impacts acres of land. In these situations, you may experience significant losses, potentially physical injuries, and more.
It helps to understand how to file a fire damage claim when applicable. Understanding your rights is vital, and our team is here to stand in your corner. Below, we’ll explain what you should know about moving forward with a fire damage claim and how best to safeguard your ability to pursue the compensation you need following a disaster.
If you file a fire damage claim and receive a denial, know that we’re here to help. Call us today at (503) 543-1114 to discuss your situation.
Does Your Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
Do you know everything that your insurance policy covers? Unfortunately, countless homeowners have insurance, but they don’t always know the details of the coverage. While you may expect that fire damage is one of the most common types of damage in homeowner’s insurance, make sure you take a detailed look at your policy to determine if you can file a claim.
Typically, this type of coverage helps you replace damaged items and your home itself. For instance, If the fire causes you to experience roof damage, your insurance provider may be the party that steps in to pay for the repairs or replacement, depending on your policy’s details and coverage amounts.
Fire damage claims through your insurance provider can also involve policy limits for the following:
- Dwellings and other structures: Your home itself or the structure of your property’s other structures (such as a shed)
- Personal property: Items within your home or vehicles you may have
- Loss of use expenses: If you must leave your home because of the damage resulting from the fire, you may recover compensation for the cost of living in a different location
Insurance is not just for homeowners. Renters insurance is available for people who do not own a home; instead, they rent from someone else. While the property owner can file a homeowner’s insurance fire damage claim, a renter may also file a claim through his or her renter’s insurance provider for the loss of their personal property. Living expenses may also be part of the policy for renter’s insurance.
Can Problems Arise When Filing a Fire Damage Claim?
You file a fire damage claim because you encounter serious problems that cause you to lose your belongings, damage your home, and force you into a vulnerable situation. At this time, you expect that your insurance provider will be there for you and help you with the compensation you need to repair or replace your property.
Unfortunately, many fire damage claims encounter difficult insurance adjusters who may try to find a way to deny a claim. A claim denial can lead to long-term issues, especially when you’re in a difficult position and need money for your losses. The following problems may arise:
- Underinsured: You may experience a problem with insurance adjusters when your policy limits are less than the costs of your repairs and replacements. For instance, if your policy limit covers $50,000 in losses, but you experience $75,000 in damages, you may have an issue recovering the full amount of compensation you need.
- Lowball estimates: Insurance adjusters must take a close and detailed look at your damages to determine how much you can recover. Unfortunately, if they lowball the estimate for your losses, they may only offer a portion of the amount you need.
- Bad faith practices: Insurance companies must provide unbiased and timely care to ensure homeowners and renters get the benefits they need. If an insurance provider delays payment, wrongfully denies coverage, or becomes difficult to work with, these may be bad faith practices.
When insurance adjusters make it difficult for homeowners to recover compensation, it can make an already challenging situation worse. It helps to know the various things you can do to best protect your fire damage claim, which includes:
- Make sure you know what is in your policy, including coverage and exclusions
- Ensure you are up to date on all payments to your insurance provider
- Identify all damage to your home and property, including having a list of your losses and value
- Keep all paperwork about your repairs made or replacement costs for lost items
- Be at your home when the insurance adjuster inspects it to prevent them from missing something
In any situation, if insurance adjusters are making it challenging to recover compensation for your losses after a severe fire, you should take steps to protect yourself. One of these steps should be hiring a lawyer who can help you take on large insurance companies that prioritize profit over their claimants.
What Steps Do I Take to File a Claim?
Filing a claim can seem like a difficult task, especially when you’re already enduring the traumatic experience of losing your property. Taking the right steps helps to give you peace of mind when you experience any property damage or losses.
- Report the fire to your local fire department to get help extinguishing it as quickly as possible.
- Report the incident to your insurance provider soon after it happens. You may be dealing with shock following the fire, but quickly reporting the fire is imperative to your claim.
- When it’s safe to go inside, take pictures of all damages. You should also keep a detailed list of all items within your home that were lost or damaged.
- If you are wary of the insurance adjuster and his or her estimates of your home, hire a lawyer to help negotiate your claim.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we know that obstacles can arise when insurance companies put their profits over your well-being. Unfortunately, these large businesses often look to do whatever necessary to protect their bottom line, even if it means lowballing how much they offer you in your settlement. It’s vital to protect yourself by working with a lawyer who can identify and combat insurance adjuster’s tactics in your time of need.
We don’t back down from large companies, especially when we know how much our clients need compensation. As such, we’ll stand by your side every step of the way to determine your claim’s full value and build a compelling case to seek the rightful amount of compensation you deserve.
Our Salem fire damage claim attorneys are ready to be your voice. If you ever experience losses from a fire and insurance adjusters are trying to delay or deny your claim, we’ll be here to help. Our team has significant legal experience helping those in need. As one of Oregon’s largest personal injury firms, it’s our mission to stand up for those who face large corporations in troubling times.
We offer free consultations to discuss the details of your case. If you need help with a fire damage claim, call our firm today at (503) 543-1114 and learn how we may be able to help you.