Need to find out more about claiming insurance after a fire? Over the years we’ve helped countless homeowners with fire damage restoration. And not only that, but with claiming insurance after fire damage.
Fire damage doesn’t happen by itself. So check your policy carefully to see what you’re covered for in terms of smoke damage, odor removal and soot damage.
HOW DID THE FIRE START?
First things first. Was it the result of a wildfire, or an accident? Because how to go about claiming insurance for fire damage restoration is slightly different according to how the fire started.
DO YOU NEED TO CLAIM INSURANCE AFTER A WILDFIRE?
Some good news. In 2021, wildfire damage claims got much easier. And they favor the homeowner rather than the insurance company.
Claiming insurance after fire damage used to be very difficult if it was the result of a wildfire. Now, you have the following rights.
Insurers have to include the value of your land in your claim.
Now you can claim for lost items as a group, such as “clothing,” rather than having to claim individually for each item of clothing.
If there’s an official state of emergency where your home is, you have a 60 day grace period on insurance premiums.
You can get living expenses if you’re forced to evacuate. Similarly, if you can’t stay in your home because you can’t access utilities.
CLAIMING INSURANCE AFTER ANY FIRE
Whether the fire started inside your home or from a wildfire, here’s what you need to do when claiming insurance for fire damage restoration.
Most insurance policies require you to act as soon as reasonably practicable after the fire. So give them a call as soon as you can.
And then they’ll provide the forms you need to fill in. At this point you can ask for details on any other deadlines you should be aware of.
CHECK WHAT’S ACTUALLY COVERED IN YOUR POLICY
First, how was the fire put out? Your home may have water damage from putting out the fire. The good news is that water damage is usually covered in a standard policy, along with smoke damage.
Next, can you use your home at all? You may be subject to an evacuation order, or your home may be just too dangerous to enter.
So check out the loss of use policy. And what you can get in terms of additional living expenses, also called ALE. Additional living expenses are things like meals in restaurants and hotel rooms. Just make sure to keep all your receipts.
CAN YOU CLAIM FOR VEHICLES, OR SEPARATE STRUCTURES ON YOUR LAND?
It’s important to look outside your home too. Was your car damaged, or destroyed? You may be covered for vehicles and outdoor structures like sheds and garages.
TAKE PHOTOS OF ALL THE DAMAGE
This will prove damage at a later date if your insurance company questions what was lost. Also make a list of all the damaged items, and gather any receipts you have.
If you give any of it to the adjuster, make sure you have your own copy.
SHOW THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER ALL THE FIRE DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME
In addition to the photos and receipts, you should show the insurance adjuster the damage in person. And that means everything you can access that’s safe to get to.
So make sure you’re there to supervise them. After all, if they come in your absence they may be unable to access parts of your property.
KEEP A PAPER TRAIL
Is that phone call really necessary? It’s sensible to communicate by email because that way you can prove what was said at a later date.
Then if you don’t get what you want and it ends in a court case, you can prove everything.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO QUESTION YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
A lot of people are disappointed with what their insurance company wants to pay out for. But it’s not set in stone. Ask them to explain why they won’t pay out.
BUT THIS LEGAL JARGON IN MY POLICY IS JUST TOO DENSE
Ask them to explain in writing if they won’t cover for the things you want. Don’t rely on a confusing phone call.
And if you feel the policy is ambiguous, say so. If the wording really is ambiguous, and you take them to court, the ruling is likely to be in your favor.
Courts take a dim view of insurance companies trying to get the upper hand through ambiguous wording.
WHAT ISN’T COVERED WHEN CLAIMING INSURANCE AFTER A FIRE?
Unfortunately, some things are just outside the scope of a fire insurance claim. Injury or wrongful death, for one.
It’s natural to be emotionally distressed after a fire in your home too. But this is something that also isn’t covered.
IS IT BEST TO GET A PUBLIC ADJUSTER, OR LAWYER?
Feeling overwhelmed? That’s totally normal.
Especially if you have a large claim, it’s hard to know where to begin. A public adjuster or lawyer can represent you and help you with your claim.
Are you disappointed with what your insurance company is willing to cover? Consider legal advice to see if you can get more compensation for your fire damage.
HOW SAVE THE DAY RESTORATION CAN HELP
We understand you want fire damage restoration as soon as possible. So it’s essential that you choose an experienced restoration team that you can rely on. And that way, everything will go smoothly. Ask us about restoration work for smoke damage, odor removal and soot damage too.
Take the first step right now. Simply call us and tell us about your fire damage at (562) 246-9908 or send us a message here.
Save The Day Restoration knows how important your home is to you, and that’s why we’re here for you with 24/7 emergency services.