You filed a claim with your property insurance company. It was denied. You have “verifiable proof” and “evidence” of the fire, you even have flashbacks of the incident. They still denied your claim. Why? Is it personal? Did you do something wrong and this is just your punishment for your transgression? To start, you’ve done nothing wrong. This is not repayment for some cosmic misdeed that butterfly effect-ed you into this moment. That’s not how this works. The National Fire Protection Association states that there are 358,000 house fires per year, of those 7 deaths per day, on average. When boiling it down to the numbers it seems like a massive number of dreams lost to fires.
The first step when this occurs to your property is to review your homeowner’s policy and ensure that you have coverage for this peril. That way you will have the knowledge that you are in some way covered for this if it were to happen to you. The second thing to think about is: What is a “fire claim”? The answer is: Documentation that outlines and states the event, how it occurred and the value or cost of the damaged property.
This “claim”, also affectionately known as “the massive stack of papers”, will be submitted to your insurer for review. At this point, your insurer will accept or deny the claim. The hope is that you don’t have to go too deep into the adjudication on a fire claim, or any claim. We’ve learned that the reasons that claims are denied are never simple, we’ll outline the top ones:
You may hear “insufficient coverage” as the reason given for your claim’s denial. This can be dicey because it could mean anything. They might say that the specific kind of fire you had isn’t covered under your policy. This could also mean that your policy specifies that damages covered need to be made directly by flame, not smoke damage or water damage from a sprinkler system. Your insurer is only required to pay for the damages as they are outlined in your policy. This is just another reason that you should review your policy on a regular basis.
Estimation of Value Differences
This will be one of those he-said-she-said moments with your insurance company. You’re claiming the amount that your home’s rebuild materials are worth, your insurer is claiming that the worth is a lot less than your claim states. The way to combat this is to have the documentation and records of the home’s build and updates that you may have done, or a prior owner did on the property. You will also need to have photographic evidence of the condition of the property before and after the fire. This will be a great aid in your claim dispute. (If you have an updated home inventory, you’ll have all you need “documented”.)
Fraud and Arson Doubts
When there is a doubt as to whether the fire was caused by arson or fraud you will likely receive a denial. You may receive proof from your insurer that the fire was set intentionally. In this case, litigation may be the only avenue to a resolution. This is disappointing, but this is the standard for some insurers while praying that their insured is not willing to hire a lawyer and go through the process of litigating their claim.
At any rate, the devastation of fire leaves insurmountable and unimaginable issues that transcend filing a claim. The Gables Insurance Recovery team has the experience to walk you through this process while representing your best interest to ensure the recovery you deserve.
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