Five Tips for Filing a Claim After a Fire
Fire is a constant threat for home and business owners. These devastating disasters can wipe out your entire livelihood in the blink of an eye, meaning that victims will often need and rely on a prompt response from their insurance company. But this doesn’t always happen; sometimes insurance companies drag their feet when responding to these claims. The last thing you want is for your insurance company to give you a hard time. Here are five tips to help your claim proceed smoothly.
Ask For an Advance
If you were forced to evacuate quickly, you may not have been able to grab things you need for an extended stay out of your home, such as spare clothes, toiletries, and even temporary housing (hotel stays, etc.) You can request an advance by simply calling your insurance company and having them bring you a check wherever you are staying. Remember, the advance will come out of the total final sum you are awarded, so don’t go overboard with your spending.
File Your Claim ASAP
Your policy likely requires you to file a claim as soon as possible after a major catastrophe, such as a fire. If you don’t you could see your claim pushed down the queue which means it could take much longer for you to receive your adjustment and be compensated for your losses. Some people are hesitant to file a claim because they don’t want to lose their coverage or see their insurance rates skyrocket like some “habitual claimants” do with their car insurance. Homeowners insurance does not work the same way: so long as there is no evidence of fraud on your part, your premiums will not increase and you will not lose your coverage.
Keep Paying Your Premiums
A homeowners’ insurance claim can be a long process, and sometimes people forget to keep paying their insurance premiums, or they think they don’t have to since they currently have a claim open. If you neglect to pay your premium, your insurance company could stop your claim since you technically no longer have a policy with them. Likewise, you will lose coverage on where you are staying while you have evacuated, which could leave you vulnerable if a disaster were to strike again.
Make a List of Losses & Keep Everything
One of the most tedious parts of a major disaster, such as a fire, is making a list of all of the possessions you have lost, along with their value. This requires some significant time and reflection from everyone in your household, but you also don’t want to hesitate in doing so because you want to be sure that everyone remembers everything you lost. Likewise, your insurance adjuster will want to see the evidence of your lost or ruined possessions in order to include them in your claim, so do not throw anything away until your list of losses is finalized. If you toss it out before your insurance company can see it, they may refuse to compensate you for it.
Get Estimates & Keep All Documentation
Filing an insurance claim allows you to repair or rebuild your home, but how do they know how much it will cost to make those repairs? Simple: they require that you get an estimate of the cost of replacement of your property, along with an estimate of the value of the property you lost. In order to get this, they send their own adjustors to the site to inspect the losses. However, it’s important that you remember these adjustors have the insurance company’s best interests at heart, not necessarily yours. You do not have to accept the numbers they give you for your losses, and you shouldn’t if they seem low.
Instead, you can hire an independent estimator or a contractor. These individuals are being paid by you, so they have your best interests at heart, and are far more likely to give you an accurate value of your losses. Be careful when choosing a contractor estimator: make sure they have experience in dealing with insurance companies. Likewise, make sure your insurance company is in agreement with the scope of work that needs to be done.
If you have lost your home or business in a fire, you should also speak with a Miami insurance claim attorney to ensure your best interests are looked after throughout the adjustment process. At The Morgan Law Group, P.A., we understand the stresses our clients are going through during the vulnerable time following a major loss, which is why we are dedicated to protecting them from companies who would rather protect their bottom line at their expense. Our outstanding dedication to ethics and legal skill has been rewarded by many industry accolades, including an AV® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, and being Rue Rated as one of the Best Attorneys of America.
Don’t wait to put a powerful legal ally on your side! Call The Morgan Law Group, P.A. today at (844) 818-0774 now and schedule your initial consultation!