FIRE & SMOKE CLAIM COMPLEXITIES
Even if flames are extinguished quickly, smoke damage can lead to expensive repair bills and losses. Fire and smoke damage can be a strong cause for concern to both your personal property and health, but property insurance coverage protects owners from having to pay for damages out of pocket. At the Murray Law Group, our attorneys can help you understand your coverage and when to pursue a claim.
You have paid your premiums for years. Insurance coverage for these losses are included in your insurance policy. Why wouldn’t the insurance company pay for all your losses, to make more profit for themselves. Insurance companies will do everything in their power to deny your claim or to pay as little as possible. When they do not pay everything you are owed, you may never successfully recover from the damages you have suffered.
Our job is to pursue the maximum financial recovery that is outlined in your policy of insurance, using our experience, skill, and legal resources to ensure your property is repaired or replaced and you are made whole.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Dealing with an insurance company on your fire and smoke claim can be a stressful and complex process. Insurance companies are large corporations. They have nearly unlimited resources and funds to fight fire insurance claims. Disputing a claim with your insurance company can be overwhelming. By retaining an experienced insurance claim lawyer, you can obtain significant assistance to make sure you obtain the insurance benefits and compensation you are entitled to under your insurance policy. Our insurance lawyers can help you by:
- Providing a free claims evaluation
- Explaining your legal rights as a policyholder
- Assessing the coverages available under your policy
- Investigating the cause of the fire and collecting evidence
- Hiring experts for unbiased assessments of your damages
- Determining the value of your claim
- Handling communications with your insurance company
- Negotiating with your insurance company
- Filing complaints with the Florida Department of Insurance
- Prosecuting your insurance company in a court of law
- Fighting for a fair settlement on your behalf
Creating Positive Outcomes
WHAT TO DO AFTER A FIRE
- Retain an attorney or public adjuster to represent your interests.
- Photograph the damage.
- Protect the property to prevent further damage.
- Report the damages to your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Save receipts that reflect any work that you’ve done in an attempt to protect the property and minimize further damage.
- Prepare for the insurance company’s claims adjuster’s visit and inspection of your property. Make sure that you have an extra copy of all documents involved in the claim, including receipts and photographs.
- Document your claim and keep notes when you speak to your insurance adjuster.
- Find or request a copy of your insurance policy from your agent or your insurance company.
- Appliance failures
- Cooking equipment
- Defective wiring
- Electrical equipment
- Flammable liquids
- Gas Leaks
No matter how the fire occurred, our Florida fire damage claims attorneys can assist you in preparing your fire damage claim and negotiating the financial requirements necessary to make you whole again.
Despite accepting premiums and issuing policies, it is not uncommon for insurance companies in Florida to deny coverage for fire damage. There are different reasons an insurance company may give for denying your claim, and some may be valid while others are not. An insurance company may be engaging in bad faith insurance practices when denying valid claims—especially if they are denying claims in an effort to increase profits to the detriment of their policyholders.
Below is a list of reasons your insurance company may give you for denying your claim:
- The property is underinsured
- Insufficient evidence to support payments
- Lack of documentation provided
- Arson (intentionally set fire)
- Fraud or Illegal activity
- Unpermitted work to the property
- Damage values have been inflated
- Policy exclusions limit coverage
- Unpaid policy premiums
Fire and smoke claim claims are often undervalued by the insurance company. Insurance companies and adjusters are not interested in paying out settlements timely and properly. The insurance company wants to keep payouts low and premiums high to improve their profit margin.
Signs your claim may have been underpaid:
1. Insurance Company’s Estimate Seems Too Low
If you feel that the estimate is too low, trust your gut and intuition. More often than not, if you suspect the estimate is too low, then it probably is.
2. Adjuster Rushed the Property Inspection
By law, the adjuster must inspect your damaged property and issue a damage estimate within 60 days of the loss. Many adjusters rush through the inspection and do not do a thorough investigation, thereby creating an estimate of repairs cost that is artificially low. This is called a low-ball estimate. Whether the adjuster is careless or has bad faith intentions, it can leave you with a lower settlement offer than you need.
3. Damage Was Overlooked or Not Accounted For
Review the insurance estimate and the adjuster documents carefully to ensure all damage and repair costs are identified. If damage has been overlooked or not accounted for in the estimate or documents, you need to take action. Failure to act could result in the underpayment of your claim.
4. Part of Your Claim Was Denied
If any part of your claim was denied, then your claim may be undervalued. Often the insurance company will deny part of your claim to save money. If your property damage claim has been partially denied, it’s not the end of the claim. The claim can be reopened.
5. Offered the Actual Cash Value Instead of Replacement Costs
Your insurance company may also offer to pay the actual cash value instead of the full cost required to replace or repair the property. Depending on your claim and your insurance policy, the insurance company may be underpaying your claim intentionally to save money.
6. Wear & Tear or Old Damages
If your insurance company states that the damages are old or are from wear and tear, this may be a sign they are trying to underpay the repairs. If the insurance company did not ask you to make repairs to your property prior to issuing or renewing the insurance policy, and after a claim states damages are from wear and tear or are old damages, it’s assigned there intentionally trying to underpay your claim.
7. Told You Do Not Need an Attorney or a Public Adjuster
If you are told you don’t need an attorney or a public adjuster on your claim, then you should call one and ask for a free claims review. Most attorneys or public adjusters will perform a free claim review to sure you are being treated properly under your insurance policy.
8. Advised their there is a Lack of Coverage or a Gap in Coverage
Another sign that your insurance company has undervalued your property damage claim is when you have been advised about a lack of coverage or a gap in coverage under your insurance policy. If your insurance company says there is no coverage for certain types of damages or losses, then you should always get a second opinion.
CONTACT THE MURRAY LAW GROUP TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Reach out to our office today to speak with one of our expert fire damage claim attorneys. The attorney will provide a free assessment of what your claim is worth quickly and effectively.
Contact Murray Law Group by calling 1-855-269-4317 today for a free consultation with an experienced Florida fire insurance claim attorney.