South Florida Fire Damage Lawyers
Fire can happen at any home, at any time, destroying property and causing emotional devastation for homeowners. Fire damage is one of the most common disasters that affects homes in the United States every year. Fire damage is particularly destructive because of the water damage and chemical residue that is left in the aftermath of putting out the fire.
In many cases, homeowners must evacuate and make repairs before the home can be occupied again. Homeowners often believe that repairs and damage costs will be covered or reimbursed by homeowner’s insurance. However, claims are often denied. If a claim has been denied and the homeowner believes that the fire damage should have been covered under the terms of the insurance policy, experienced fire damage attorneys may be able to provide assistance in recovering compensation from the insurance company.
Fire Damage Causes
There are many different causes of house fires, including:
- Area wildfires
- Lightning strikes
- Cooking fires
- Faulty electrical appliances or wiring
- Candles and recreational lighting
Fire Damage and Homeowner’s Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance typically covers fire damage to homes and property. However, policy limitations, exclusions, and deductibles may affect the amount of coverage and the circumstances under which claims will be paid. Home owners should review all aspects of the homeowner’s insurance policy carefully when purchasing coverage to ensure understanding of coverage and exclusions. In extremely high risk areas, homeowner’s insurance companies may require home owners to purchase additional coverage to cover fire damage.
Filing Fire Damage Claims
Homeowners should file a claim with the homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible following a fire. Filing a claim quickly will help to speed up the claims process and reduce the likelihood of errors when relaying events or reporting losses. Homeowners may also be able to begin repairs that will help prevent further damage, which can reduce costs to both the homeowner and the insurance company.
As part of the claims filing process, homeowners are usually required to document all damaged property and give estimates on the monetary value of damages. In order to provide accurate and thorough documentation, it is recommended that homeowners begin this process as soon as possible and take photographs. This will help to show what damage was caused by the fire and fire-fighting efforts. In the event that further damage is sustained due to the inactivity of the homeowner’s insurance company, photographs and documentation may help to separate and prove the timing of the damage.
Fire Damage Claim Denial
If a fire damage claim is denied, homeowners may benefit from contacting an attorney. An attorney may be able to assist the homeowner in determining whether the claim was denied for legitimate reasons or if the insurance company is acting in bad faith. If the insurance company is acting in bad faith, this means that the insurance company intentionally misled the homeowner to believe that the policy covered losses which were not actually covered. Insurance companies typically use vague wording that can be manipulated when fire damage occurs for this type of unethical practice.
If an insurance company delays payment of a claim due to the suspicion of arson by the homeowner, the insurance company must conduct an investigation promptly. The insurance company is responsible for covering all costs for this investigation. In some cases, insurance companies will claim that there is cause to suspect arson in order to delay or deny claims. If it is suspected that an insurance company is falsely claiming suspected arson for no other reason except to deny or delay a claim, an attorney may be able to defend the homeowner.
Fire Damage Attorney Assistance
Fire damage attorneys may be able to help home owners document losses and file insurance claims in order to ensure claim payments. If an insurance company is unethically denying a claim, simply having an attorney’s assistance may be enough to motivate the insurance company to approve the claim amount. If necessary, an attorney may also be able to pursue legal action against an insurance company in order to recover costs associated with legitimate fire damage claims.
“Frequently Asked Questions about Fire/Smoke/Explosion Damage.” Texas Department of Insurance. Texas Department of Insurance, 1 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.tdi.texas.gov/news/2013/westfaq.html>
“Insurance Claim Tips For Partial Loss Fires.” United Policyholders. United Policyholders, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.uphelp.org/sites/default/files/ExtremeHeat_0.pdf>
“What Is Bad Faith Insurance?” Fight Bad-Faith Insurance Companies. Fight Bad-Faith Insurance Companies, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2014. <http://www.badfaithinsurance.org/badfaith_faq.html>