June 26, 2017

Fire Damage Insurance Claims

Every year, thousands of homes suffer from fire damage, soot or smoke damage.

House Fire Property Damage

House Fire - Devastating Property Damage Cause

American Property Loss Service’s Public Adjusters are available to do a complete review of your fire damage insurance claim. From initial on-site property damage estimates to reviewing your insurance company adjuster estimates for completeness, American Property Loss Service’s Public Adjusters are experienced and ready to get your life  back in order after home fire damage.

Fire in its most common form can result in a blaze,which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning.  A fire can be accidentally begun, naturally caused by lightning, electrical shorts, cooking fires, wildfire, or intentionally set by arson.

Lightning is often the cause of fires or damage to electrical systems and other parts of a house, lightning is caused when storm clouds cool below a certain temperature, and positive and negative electrical charges in the clouds’ water vapor separate from top to bottom. Negative electrical charges at the bottom of the cloud build in strength until a magnetic attraction causes those particles to ‘jump’ to positively charged particles accumulating at the ground. There are thousands of lightning strikes in each state every year, and each has the potential to do great harm to people and damage property.

A wildfire is an unplanned and uncontrolled fire that occurs in the areas where woods and homes overlap. These are not single home fires, but larger firestorms that can threaten multiple homes, and typically burn many acres of forest. In an average year, 140,000 wildfires burn an average of 14.5 million acres. Wildfires are not just a problem in California, Arizona, or Texas, where recent outbreaks have brought national attention. Wildfires have occurred in nearly every state in the country.  All property insurance policies provide coverage for losses resulting from fires. Depending on the level of exposure, you may need to consider a higher deductible to obtain coverage, or keep it affordable.

Even a small fire produces a significant amount of residual property damage. Smoke can spread to your furniture, clothes, electronics and ventilating system. The typical homeowner’s policy covers damage due to wind, fire and lightning. So if your home has been completely destroyed by a fire or if the roof has been burned, your insurance company will pay to have your home rebuilt or to have the roof replaced. It will also pay if flames and smoke have damaged any other part of your home.

Your insurance company might cover your housing expenses as part of your property loss claim, depending on your plan. These “additional living expense coverage” or “loss of use coverage” options will pay for similar housing while repairs are being made to your home or if you permanently relocate. Typically, you need to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred. Also keep in mind that payments do no cover lost wages or earnings.

In addition to paying for property damage to the dwelling, homeowners’ policies cover other structures on the premises, such as a garage or tool shed, as well as damage to your furniture, clothes, appliances and other personal possessions up to the limits of your policy.

Insurance companies constantly try to cut corners on fire insurance claims in an attempt to save money. Losing your home and personal belongings to a fire is already a devastating experience.  The last thing you want is your homeowners’ insurance company giving you a hard time regarding your claim.

Tips When Filing a Fire Damage Insurance Claim

Filing Property Loss Claim

Filing Property Loss Claim

Ask for an advance against your ultimate fire homeowners insurance claim

If you were forced to evacuate due to the dangerous conditions, you may not have grabbed essentials like toiletries or clothes for school and work.  Ask your insurance company to bring a check to wherever you are staying.  That way you can go purchase your necessities without having to wait for your ultimate insurance coverage.   This advance will be deducted from the total amount you finally receive from the insurance company.

Make a list of everything you’ve lost and do not throw anything away

You will want to make a list of everything you lost in the fire.  You want to be sure to start making this list as soon as you can so that you are able to remember to include everything lost by the time you file your fire insurance claim.

Be sure not to throw anything away.  Many people make the mistake of tossing things in their homes that are completely ruined, either by smoke or fire damage.  Remember that the insurance claims adjuster will want to see these things to include them in the coverage.  It will be easier to prove that you really lost the items on your list if you hold on to them for the insurance claim adjuster to see.  If you throw them away, the insurance company may refuse to compensate you.

The insurance company will require you to submit a “proof of loss claim”.  This is the form on which you agree with your insurance company about the value of your damages.  Make sure you understand EVERYTHING on it before you sign it.
File your claim right away and press the insurance company to act ASAP
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