Are You Filing a Claim for Fire Damage?
Losing a home and personal items to a fire can be devastating, so you do not need an insurance company making things even more difficult for you and your family. Insurance experts recommend taking the following steps to handle a fire insurance claim properly:
- Ask your insurance company for an advance against your claim.
- List your losses and do not throw out any destroyed items.
- Submit your claim as quickly as possible.
If smoke and fire damage a home or a property you own in Texas, you will need your property damage claim approved immediately. If an insurance company rejects your claim for fire damage, you should have your claim reviewed – at once – by a Texas fire insurance lawyer.
Ask Your Insurance Company for an Advance Against Your Claim
If a fire forced a quick evacuation of your home, you may not have been able to grab essentials like clothes, shoes, or toiletries, and you may have lost these in the blaze. Ask your insurance company for a check in advance to cover your essential needs until your fire damage claim is settled.
Use that check only to cover your immediate needs. Any advances that you receive from the insurance company will be subtracted from the final settlement amount, so be careful and do not lose money that you will need for repairs to your fire-damaged property.
List Your Losses and Keep Any Destroyed or Damaged Items
You will need to make an inventory of everything that was damaged or destroyed in the fire. Start making that list as quickly as possible and go through it several times so that nothing is overlooked. A damaged or destroyed item is proof of loss, so do not toss away anything until an insurance adjuster has seen it, or you may be denied compensation for that item.
Submit Your Claim as Quickly as Possible
Time is of the essence when it comes to fire damage claims. Your homeowners policy requires you to submit a claim promptly. You will need to submit a proof of loss for each lost item and indicate the value of each item. Failure to act quickly could land you at the bottom of the insurance company’s list, and it will take longer to settle your claim.
Working on your fire damage claim with your insurance company may require multiple letters, documents, emails, and phone calls. Keep track of the pertinent documents and take notes regarding any phone calls or face-to-face discussions with the insurance company’s representatives.
It is imperative to know and understand the details of your homeowners insurance policy. If you do not meet the deadline for filing a claim (or if you do not request an extension of that deadline), you will not be permitted to submit your fire damage claim.
What Else Should You Know About Fire Damage Claims?
Fire may damage a property in different ways: a wildfire’s damage will be substantially different from a kitchen fire’s damage, so there’s no “standard” claim for fire damage. Even policyholders who have made their payments fully and on time may have a fire damage claim denied.
Always keep the original documents that pertain to the claim and only give the insurance company copies. Keep the originals in a binder or a file organizer. Keeping your claim-related documents safe and organized is important if a problem should arise with your damage claim.
If your insurance company requests more details about your fire damages, try to provide those details, but if all you receive is more requests for even more information, your insurance company might be intentionally delaying action on your claim and seeking a reason to reject it.
What is Bad Faith?
Insurance bad faith happens far too frequently in this state. Insurance bad faith can occur if an insurance company fails to act in good faith and fails to meet its responsibilities to a policyholder. Specifically, insurance bad faith occurs when an insurance company fails:
- to pay, negotiate, or even investigate a claim or explain why a claim was denied
- to offer a settlement amount that comes reasonably close to the claim’s actual worth
- to approve a payout or reject a claim in a reasonable amount of time
An honest disagreement over the amount of a claim doesn’t mean that you are dealing with bad faith, but when an insurance company doesn’t return calls, will not negotiate, or claims the check is in the mail – and it isn’t – arrange to discuss your case with a Texas fire insurance attorney.
How Will an Insurance Attorney Help You?
When an insurance company rejects your fire damage claim, or if you believe that you are the victim of insurance bad faith after a fire, hiring a Texas fire insurance attorney may be all that it takes to compel your homeowners insurance company to settle your claim quickly and fairly.
Insurance companies usually try to avoid lawsuits because they may be ordered to pay a policyholder additional damages beyond the initial claim amount. Nevertheless, you need to select a Texas fire insurance lawyer who will be ready to take your case to trial if necessary.
Your fire insurance lawyer can determine if you are dealing with insurance bad faith or if your fire damage claim has been wrongly denied. When you call a fire insurance lawyer for a free case evaluation, you will learn how Texas law applies in your own case, and you will also be advised about the best way to move forward with your case.
Flores & Pelaez-Prada Will Work With You and for You
When you file a fire damage claim, insurance companies are not on your side. We are. When you are represented by the team at Flores & Pelaez-Prada, you pay no lawyer’s fee in advance and no lawyer’s fee until we recover your fire damage payout in out-of-court negotiations or at trial.
If you believe that your homeowners insurance company is acting in bad faith after a fire, or if your fire damage claim is wrongly denied, now or in the future, promptly contact the law offices of Flores & Pelaez-Prada – from anywhere in Texas – by calling 1-855-786-7674 (or 1-855-STORMS-4). We handle fire, flood, and wind damage claims for our clients throughout the state.
Disclaimer: The blog posts shared on stormlex.com are intended for general informational purposes and may not apply to your specific situation. For personalized legal advice concerning your policy or claim, contact our office directly at 1-855-786-7674.