In a state that focuses a large amount of time and energy on the issue of hurricanes, residential fire damage tends to be a background issue. That is, until you have to deal with the problem yourself. Fire damage has the potential to cause anywhere from simple cosmetic problems to completely destroying every inch of your home. Most individuals and families have the foresight to purchase insurance as a hedge against the possibility of fire damage. This can save people thousands of dollars and lead to a quick repair. Unfortunately, insurance companies have the tendency to make what should be a simple process much more complicated. Although you have paid a premium for protection, sometimes your provider will refuse the claim and deny payment. If you have had trouble receiving the compensation you deserve from your insurance company, it is vital that you work with a Florida insurance claims attorney who can argue on your behalf and demand the payment that is rightfully yours.
At Hale, Hale & Jacobson we represent homeowners who have suffered monetary loss due to fire damage covered under insurance policies, when the insurers either delayed or refused payment. Our firm’s goal is to help you obtain a full, fair and reasonable settlement of your claim, so that you can fully restore your home.
Common Examples and Causes of Fire Damage
Fire damage can affect every single area of your house in various ways. Not only can it damage the aesthetics of your house, it also has the potential to cause collateral issues with regard to electrical systems, heating or cooling systems and insulation, just to name a few. Some of the more common examples of fire damage include:
Melted appliances and electronics
Some of the primary causes of fire damage include:
Open fire in kitchen
There are also particular areas of the house that are more likely to be the source of fire damage. The primary areas of the house are:
Kitchen – As the most likely source for fires, a kitchen has countless hazards. These items and procedures can lead to grease fires and oven fires, for example.
Bedrooms – poor electrical maintenance, electric blankets, heaters contacting linens, playing with matches
Attics – This area of the house tends to have many flammable items and packaging, making it a high-risk room that is prone to dryness. Considering that heat rises, fire will constantly be fighting to reach this level of your house.
Basements – This room will likely include electrical boxes, fuses and water heaters. Basements are also neglected compared to others rooms so a problem is more likely to arise from improper maintenance.
Garage – The garage will include many flammable items, such as gasoline and other liquids, along with the possibility of fuse boxes and other electrical equipment.
Patio – Your backyard can be a dangerous area for both the potential for damage and causes of fires. First and foremost is grilling issues leading to fire damage. Along with this is the unfortunate possibility of wildfire or outside sources of fire encroaching on and entering your household.
Steps to Take During an Insurance Claim
Document everything – Visual evidence of the damage is essential in negotiating a value. It is vital that you take pictures or video of every single part of your property that was damaged by fire.
Be thorough – Note every area that could have been damaged. Go through the burned areas multiple times to make sure you do not miss anything. Inspectors and business owners are prone to missing certain damages, which could lead to even worse problems down the road. The more you can claim the better.
Do not accept a first/low offer – Insurance companies will attempt to bully you during the negotiations period and will likely offer a low payout. Do not to allow yourself to be pushed into a settlement or agreeing to anything you do not feel comfortable with.
Understand your rights – Understand your policy and your rights as a commercial property owner. Insurance companies will exploit customers who do not know the details of their contract.
Be active and present – It is surprising, but many people do not attend their own inspections, which can easily be used to the insurance providers advantage. Take an active role in getting the payment you deserve.
Be honest – Do not lie on your insurance claim, this could lead to serious legal ramifications and a drop from coverage without payment. Even though you are looking to get the best possible payout, exaggerating damages will likely come back to bite you. Considering how hard it is to get money out of providers for obvious damage, exaggeration tends to be a losing battle that your insurance company will try to call you out on.