When it comes to our homes, our prized possession, there’s little more that we fear more than a fire. Sure, theft and vandalism are frustrating because it means we have to replace or fix things. Yet, fires can rip through the building and through our hearts. If you’ve ever entered a home after a fire, it’s a devastating sight and one that will stick with you for many years.
Will Your Policy Cover Damage?
Under the vast majority of homeowner and property insurance policies, fires WILL be covered. Since they’re one of the largest concerns for those who own a property, it makes sense that fires form the basis for most policies.
This being said, there are two situations where the insurance company may refuse to pay out. Firstly, if the home owner started the fire deliberately. Arson is a criminal offense, and it’s also considered to be insurance fraud if it was done with insurance money in mind. When a fire occurs, investigators from the company are sent to your address to find the cause.
Secondly, you may also run into trouble if the home was vacant at the time of the fire; the definition of ‘vacant’ is something that’s hotly debated by providers. While some require the property to be vacant for 30 days, others will have different requirements. Either way, coverage may not be provided if the provider can prove the property was vacant by their own definition of the word.
When making a claim, what exactly is covered? How much will you receive? Perhaps the most obvious, the first thing will be the structure of the home and any attached structures (such as a garage). Depending on the damage, you may also receive money to live elsewhere while the repairs are completed.
After the main structure, any detached structures are covered and this includes fences, sheds, outbuildings, detached garages, and more. Also, many property insurance policies extend the coverage to personal belongings such as furniture, appliances, and clothing.
Making a Claim
After your home suffers from fire damage, we recommend filing your claim as soon as possible. We realize that this is a time of great stress, but the insurance company should be made aware. At the same time, take photos of the damage and ensure you have your own evidence because this might be relevant later.
While we’re on the theme of giving tips, don’t throw items away (even if they’re badly damaged). Your insurance provider will likely send a loss adjuster, so these professionals need to be able to see the full extent of the damage. Although it’s natural to want to start clearing up, it could hurt the amount you receive. Of course, don’t take any risks with something that poses a danger.
At all times, you should be pushing for the amount you need. Especially if you’re forced to live elsewhere temporarily, don’t settle for anything less. After paying premiums for many years, this is the insurance company’s turn to help you and make good on their word.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you don’t feel confident in handling the insurance company, or perhaps the provider has denied your claim, Cannella Legal is here to help. We’ll assess the evidence, review the provider’s reasons for the denial, and see if a rebuttal is worthwhile. As well as avoiding common mistakes that many people make, like admitting fault to the provider, we can advise on how to maximize your claim.
Don’t accept less than you deserve (and need); we have the resources, knowledge, and experience to chase a settlement or file a lawsuit for court!