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Flores & Pelaez-Prada PLLC
By: Flores & Pelaez-Prada PLLC

How to Navigate Insurance Claims After Fire Damage to a Rental Property

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Are Your Properties Covered by Fire Insurance?

Rental property and commercial property fires can be tragic. A fire at an apartment building or commercial space can put lives at risk, tenants out of their homes, and the property owner out of business. If your insurance claim for fire damage is rejected, you’ll need legal advice and help from a Texas fire insurance lawyer.

Texas property managers and commercial property owners who rent houses, apartments, and commercial spaces must purchase separate fire insurance policies for their rental properties. If your rental property sustains fire damage, the failure to have sufficient insurance for the rental may mean that your fire damage claim will be denied.

However, if you have purchased property insurance for a rental and that insurance includes adequate coverage for fire damage, and if your fire damage claim is then rejected for any reason, you must contact the law offices of a Texas fire insurance attorney as quickly as possible.

If your rental property insurance policy does not currently cover fire damage, or if there are gaps in your coverage, you should purchase sufficient fire insurance coverage immediately – before a fire severely damages your rental property.

What Losses Can Property Owners Suffer in Fires?

When you purchase insurance coverage for a rental property, it is important to have insurance that will cover your needs in case of a fire. A property manager or owner can suffer substantial losses in a rental property fire, including the costs of restoration, relocations, and lost rental income:

  1.  Restoration: Fire, smoke, and water all pose hazards to a property. A rental property must satisfy all building codes – and be habitable and safe – before tenants may return. Your policy may pay to restore a structure to its pre-fire condition but will not cover upgrades.
  2.  Relocation: Many insurance policies for rental properties offer relocation coverage if a tenant is displaced because of a fire that wasn’t his or her fault. In large buildings with multiple units, those relocation costs can add up quickly.
  3.  Lost rental income: Tenants won’t be paying rent until repairs have satisfied the building codes, so property owners and managers are deprived of rental income while repairs are in progress. A policy that offers rental income protection can keep money coming in as repairs are being made.

Who Pays for What After a Rental Property Fire?

The insurance policy for your rental property and your lease or rental agreement with your tenant(s) determine who pays for what after a rental property suffers fire damage. Owners are usually responsible for fire damages to the building’s structure, electrical system, and plumbing.

If an owner’s property insurance policy has coverage gaps, some of the damages may not be covered. Tenants, however, must file claims against their own renter’s insurance to cover lost clothing, furniture, electronics, and other personal items. Tenants who do not have renter’s insurance must pay out-of-pocket for the cost of their own lost or damaged personal belongings.

If a tenant (or a tenant’s guest) was responsible for the fire, the property owner may bring a claim against the tenant for the property insurance deductible or for the costs of any damages that are not covered by the property insurance policy.

File a Fire Damage Claim as Quickly as Possible

Even before there has been any damage to your rental property, a property owner must understand the details of his or her property insurance policy. For instance, if you fail to meet the filing deadline for a fire damage claim or fail to ask for an extension, your claim will automatically be rejected.

Property insurance policies usually require you to file a damage claim promptly. Settling your claim may require you to gather a number of documents and send several letters or emails to your property insurance company over a period of several weeks.

Make and keep copies of all pertinent documents, and take notes during any phone calls or in-person discussions with the insurance company’s adjusters or other representatives. Keep the related documents secure and organized in case a problem arises with your fire damage claim.

Are You an Insurance Bad Faith Victim?

Insurance bad faith is what happens when an insurance company negligently or intentionally fails to meet its obligations to a policyholder. Specific examples of insurance bad faith include an insurance company’s failure to:

  1.  deny a claim or make a payout within a reasonable time frame
  2.  investigate, negotiate, or pay a claim or explain why the claim was rejected
  3.  make a settlement offer that approximates the claim’s actual value

A sincere difference over the value of your claim may not mean that your insurance company is operating in bad faith, but if the company will not negotiate, doesn’t return your calls, or says your check is in the mail but it’s not, you’ll need to contact a Texas fire insurance lawyer.

How Do Insurance Lawyers Help Rental Property Owners?

If your property insurance company denies your legitimate fire damage claim, a Texas fire insurance attorney can take action to resolve your claim fairly and quickly. In fact, simply hiring a lawyer may be sufficient to compel a quick settlement.

Nevertheless, your lawyer should be ready to take your case to court if necessary. When you contact a fire insurance attorney for a free evaluation of your case, you will learn how the law applies to your own situation, and you’ll be advised about the best way to proceed with the case.

At Flores & Pelaez-Prada, We Fight and Win for Property Owners

If your insurance company won’t cooperate with you after a fire damages your rental property, a Texas property insurance claims attorney at Flores & Pelaez-Prada can help. We handle fire, wind, and flood damage claims for commercial property owners and property managers across the State of Texas.

When you choose to be advised and represented by the legal team at Flores & Pelaez-Prada, you will pay no attorney’s fee up front and no attorney’s fee until we obtain your fire damage settlement in private negotiations or at trial.

If your property insurance company operates in bad faith after your rental property sustains fire damage, or if your legitimate damage claim is denied for any other reason, call the law offices of Flores & Pelaez-Prada – from anywhere in Texas – at 1-855-786-7674 (or 1-855-STORMS-4).

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.


"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 (855)786-7674."