Fire Damage Insurance Claims: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Did your property recently suffer serious fire damage? If so, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. Here, are answers to some of the most frequently asked fire damage claim questions.
What Are the First Steps I Should Take After a Fire?
After a fire, it is important to take proactive steps to document your losses and damage. Try to gather all documents and records related to your property damage. When it is time to file your claim, this documentation will be critically important. You should take extensive photographs of your damage and the surrounding areas. Take picture before and after the debris is removed, as well as of the cleanup process itself. Remember, if you don’t take pictures, you may not be able to prove what was there.
How Do I Know if My Damage is Covered?
Review the specific terms of your property insurance policy. If you do not have a copy of the policy available, contact the insurance company and get one sent to you as soon as possible. When reviewing your policy, start with the declarations page. This will give you some basic information regarding your coverage.
Should We Clear the Debris Site?
It is understandable that you want to clear the debris site as soon as reasonably possible. Fires are devastating and most people just want to move on with their lives. However, it is a best practice to get written confirmation from your insurance company before removing anything. More specifically, seek confirmation that your insurer has fully inspected the loss site to its satisfaction. If you don’t get this confirmation, you may increase the odds of a dispute later. If a dispute does arise, it may be difficult to prove what was there if the debris has already been cleared away. Be sure that you and your insurer are on the same page before removing any debris.
What Common Claims Problems Should I Watch Out For?
Unfortunately, it is not always easy for property owners to recover the full value of their losses. To protect yourself and your rights, you need to take great care to avoid mistakes during the claims process. Policyholders can run into problems in many different ways. Some of the most common problems include:
- Lacking coverage;
- Insurance company delays;
- Disputes over what exactly is covered;
- Disputes over the cause of the damage;
- Communication issues with insurance adjusters; and
- Settlements that are far too low.
When Should I Hire an Attorney?
The good news is that many property owners recover fair compensation for their damages without any trouble from their insurer. Unfortunately, though, this is not always that case. If you are not receiving full value, or if your coverage has been denied outright, you should speak to an attorney. At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, our Fort Lauderdale property insurance lawyers have helped many policyholders obtain settlement offers that cover the full value of their losses. If you are having trouble recovering fair compensation for your fire damage claim, please call our Sunrise office today at (954) 990-5251 to schedule a no-fee, no-obligation review of your case.