Fire Damage and the Insurance Claim Process
Imagine for a Moment…
It’s Saturday morning. You wake up bright and early to make and enjoy a large breakfast; one of your favorite past times now that the children are grown and moved out. Before you take your first big bite of bacon, you smell something burning. You immediately rush to the kitchen to make sure you have turned the stove off, as well as any other kitchen appliances that aided in the creation of your morning breakfast. Just as you thought, you didn’t forget to turn any of these appliances off. Confused, you proceed to investigate to find the root cause of the smoke smell which still fills the air. As you take a closer look around, you realize that it isn’t coming from the kitchen. As you walk towards the family room, you notice the burning smell is beginning to become stronger and thicker. As you enter into the family room, you can see smoke starting to rise out of your ceiling fan. At that same moment, a spark shoots out from the top of the fan and before you know it, a blaze is ignited and it begins to spread. You are able to evacuate your home quickly and safely. Six seconds after you set foot onto the sidewalk and take a look back, your entire home is engulfed with flames. Immediately, you call the fire department. While dispatch is able to arrive quickly, it takes several hours for them to actually put the fire out. When the flames are finally washed away, you see nothing but heaps of rubble where your house once stood. Your home is ruined. Your furniture, appliances, flooring, linens, and personal effects such as your family photographs are all damaged beyond repair.
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What do you do now? What’s your next step? Most often in this situation you would call your insurance company and explain what happened. This is a good move, and something you should do. Your insurance company is there to protect your financial assets in times like these, as they should. After all, this is what you’ve paid for all of these years; protection against the unexpected. Fires, no matter how big or small, can cause a tremendous amount of damage. While you know it’s important to call your insurance company, what you might not know is that the process for handling file claims is often a very long and very detailed process. It takes a lot of time for you to get back to your pre-loss condition. If the day comes where you need to file a claim due to fire, smoke, or soot damage to your home or business, actually filing that claim is just the beginning. When going through the claims process, here is what you can expect:
Filing a Fire Damage Claim
First and foremost, once you have filed your claim, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to inspect the property. Depending on the adjuster’s schedule, it may take days or weeks for your property to be inspected. Once the property is inspected by the adjuster, fire damages may require the use of cause and origin investigators, fire marshals, structural engineers, electrical engineers, builders, or other experts depending upon the nature of the damage. Additional vendors may be called out to board-up windows and doors as well as tarp roof surfaces to prevent further damage. Each of these additional people added to the claim increases the claim length exponentially as each person must inspect the property and write their respective reports. As with any property damage claim, property adjusters tend to drag their feet since they often operate on 30-day reporting cycles. This means that there is plenty of time for your claim to languish while the adjuster’s attention is elsewhere. This creates an environment in which it is very easy for your claim to drag on for months at a time. While all of this is going on, where does it leave you? While you wait for this claim process to continue, you are waiting without livable housing or a functional business. While they take their sweet time, you have no other choice but to sit, and wait. Just one more thing to add on to this already traumatic experience.
Receiving Your Claim
Finally, when your payment comes in, you may very likely find that the amount you receive is significantly less that what is needed to restore your property to pre-loss condition. You may not know this, but insurance companies have actually developed internal estimating guidelines that systematically undervalue claims, which results in smaller claim payouts for policy holders. These smaller claim payouts for policy holders squeeze contractors, which makes it difficult to find a contractor to repair the property. If you decide you need additional funds, the adjuster must re-open the claim and you will have to go through this same process all over again. Just what you were looking to do, add more time and energy into this situation. As all of these items come crashing down on you, it’s very normal to start to feel stressed. The claims process can be very overwhelming for policy holders, and we know that.
A Helping Hand
This is where we step in. We know what is involved when dealing with the fire damage claim process, and we are here to lend a helping hand. Our public adjustment firm specializes in helping policyholders successfully navigate through the often complex and difficult property claims process. Instead of having to deal with all the various stakeholders involved in the claims settlement process, we can take over and be your point of contact for everything. We will manage your entire claim to help you achieve a maximum claim settlement in the least amount of time possible. We will help you to be paid fairly for your damages, and get back to pre-loss condition quickly and painlessly. Going through this experience is difficult in itself, let us help you and take some of that weight off of your shoulders. Our services include:
- Claim submission
- Claim advisory services
- Communications management
- Inspection coordination
- Final settlement negotiation
- Professional recommendations
And more! Give us a call to get a free, no obligation consultation with a licensed, public adjuster. We will review your claim, discuss options, and provide our professional recommendations for moving forward. Dealing with property damage is never an easy process. These traumatic experiences take a toll on you not only physically, but emotionally as well. That’s why we’re here, and were on your side. So don’t forget; when you sustain property damage: Contact Claimly First!