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Are you looking for tips on filing a fire insurance claim? As winter quickly approaches and fires becoming increasingly prevalent, insurance companies are looking to save money potentially impacting claims that are filed for fires. The increasing threat of fires makes it extremely important for all policyholders to familiarize themselves with the process of filing a claim as it relates to fire insurance claims. In most cases, insurance claims related to fires are all catastrophic. If filed correctly, you will be able to maximize your claim settlement and restore your property back to or better than the pre-loss conditions.

Hopefully, there is no loss of life when you experience a fire. Losing your home and all of your belongings to a fire is devastating enough. Little do many policyholders know, the frustration in dealing with your insurance can be and feel much more devastating than the fire itself.  Here are some tips for filing insurance claims related to fires.

Compile a list of everything.

Having a list of all of your valuables is important and necessary.   As the policyholder,  it is your job to prove the loss.  Hiring a public adjuster will make this process much easier.  If you want to avoid many headaches in the future oh, it is important to make a list of everything that you have before a catastrophic loss such as a fire. If you did not have this type of list, it is extremely important to do this as soon as possible after the fire. Remember to include everything that you’ve lost  And its approximate valuation before you file your insurance claim.

 It is extremely important not to throw anything away. it is much easier to prove your loss on the items identified on your list if you hold on to them for your interest adjuster to see and validate. Throwing them away may result in your insurance company refusing to compensate you appropriately.

Hire a Public Adjuster who specializes in catastrophic claims

In coastal states like Florida,  Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and California,  Public Adjusters are more understood due to the massive seasonal catastrophic events such as hurricanes and forest fires. If you don’t know what a public adjuster is or does, they are your advocate during your claims process. They take on all of the headaches and work directly with your insurance company to ensure that your claim is maximized and your property is restored expeditiously.

If you have a  tax problem, you will consult your CPA. If you have a legal problem, you will consult your lawyer. Public Adjusters are experts in insurance claims. They are the ones that you should consult with when you have a big catastrophic insurance claim such as a fire.  Many policyholders feel alone in the process I finally flame and experience tremendous frustration and dealing with the insurance company and their valuation methods. Hiring a public adjuster as soon as you can is your best chance to reduce your stress and frustration, and maximize your claim settlement for your loss.  

It is important not to just hire any public adjusting firm though.  You should do your research and check their references as well as look at the results that they have achieved for their clients.

Work with your Public Adjuster to file your claim right away.

All insurance policies require the policyholder to file their insurance claim expeditiously. The insurance company will require a proof of loss claim. this is where you will list all of the items that you lost, including their value. your public adjuster will help you compile all of the needed documentation to ensure that your insurance company has everything that they need. It is important to work quickly. acting quickly will ensure that you remain at the top of the list, especially if more than one policyholder was affected during this catastrophic loss.  When you file your claim they will ask for some of the following:

  • The date of the loss
  •  the type of loss and damage
  •  at the location of the loss
  •  if there are any related injuries
  •  if there are any other parties involved in the loss
  •  the condition of the home before and after the loss
  •  the description of any contents that were damaged
  •  a list of temporary repairs that are needed
  •  a police report

Dealing with your insurance company is a very complicated process that involves numerous calls, emails, and other various forms of communication and documentation.  We do not recommend doing this alone. Your public adjuster will be able to help you keep track of all of these documents and communication. They take all of this off of your plate and communicate directly with the insurance company on your behalf.

Mitigate further damage

Your insurance company requires you to take care of your property even after a catastrophic loss such as a fire. Of course, if it is a total loss, this is unnecessary. If there are undamaged sections of your home or business, your insurance company will require you to take reasonable care to prevent any further damage from occurring. 

Your public adjuster will advise you on how to mitigate any further damages. This includes some of the following:

  • Adding boards to prevent looters
  • Moving any undamaged property
  • Covering up holes and protecting belongings from any roof damage

 

Seek an advance on your insurance claim

If you were forced to leave your property due to your loss, you may be eligible for an advance against your claim. These advances are meant to ensure that you can purchase essentials like toiletries, clothes, food, and other necessities. This is to take care of your immediate needs.  You should ensure that you are being practical with things that you purchase because the insurance company may refuse to reimburse you for what they consider frivolous.

Keep a record of all living expenses

After a catastrophic loss such as a fire, there will be many more expenses in your daily lives for which your insurance policy will reimburse you. Your insurance policy includes a clause called “loss of use,” which reimburses you for living expenses while you are displaced from your damaged property. Your insurance company will reimburse you for the difference between what it costs while you are displaced and what it was actually costing you while you were on your property. 

 

Let’s look at an example. Due to a fire, you have been displaced and are now eating out more, having to pay for laundry, having to pay for extra gas, and more.  Your living expenses used to be $5,000 a month, but now it is $10,000 a month due to all the extra expenses. Your insurance company will reimburse you for the $5,000 in extra expenses per month.  Your public adjuster will help you identify and keep records of all of these expenses and costs associated with loss-of-use. 

You get to decide when it’s over, not your insurance company.

Insurance companies want to quickly close out your insurance claim. Especially in catastrophic claims such as a fire. Your insurance company may try to add a note to your check which designates the closure of a claim. For example, your check may say something like “ acceptance of this check will close your claim.”  If you choose to do this alone, you should cross out any language relating to the closing of your claim, initial or sign next to it, and then you will have to send them correspondence asserting that you do not consider the claim closed.

What’s Next?

If you are reading this and you have experienced loss due to a fire,  You can limit your frustration and maximize your claim by hiring a reputable public adjuster in your area. If you need to talk to someone about your claim or if you are struggling with an insurance claim, it is not too late to talk to a public adjuster.