Florida Property Insurance Attorney Provides a Primer for Successful Fire Damage Claims [Part 1]

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

During summer season, soaring temperatures will increase the threat of fire causing damage to residential and business structures, as well as the property inside homes and businesses.  Although you might assume your property is safe because you have fire coverage through your homeowner’s insurance policy, insurers are aggressive about cutting corners to increase profits.  If your home and personal property inside your home are destroyed by a fire, the emotional hardships you face can be devastating.  When your insurer compounds this stress by delaying or denying your claim, the guidance and representation of an experienced Miami fire damage claims attorney can provide welcome relief.  This three-installment blog post is a primer that offers suggestions to help policyholders with fire insurance claims.

File your fire damage claim immediately and stay on the insurer about responding promptly.

Homeowner’s insurance policies impose a duty on policyholders to file their claim as soon as possible following a loss.  Many people are displaced from their homes in the event of a major fire, which can cause delays in providing notice of the loss.  While you should not delay providing notice any longer than necessary, the insurer cannot penalize you for delays caused by circumstances beyond your control, such as a hospitalization or lack of access to functioning phone service.  After you have provided telephonic notice to the insurer, you will be required to submit a “proof of loss claim.”  This document itemizes the property that was destroyed or damaged as well as the value of the items.  If your home was damaged in a major fire that impacted many residences, time is of the essence in providing notice and submitting your proof of loss form to avoid being at the bottom of the list of claims filed with your insurer.  Since claims generally are handled on a first come first serve priority basis in this situation, you might wait longer than necessary for an adjuster if others file their claims first.

What information needs to be included when you submit your claim?

The following information should be included as part of your claim:

  • Location of damage
  • Condition of the residence
  • Date of loss
  • Police report (if any)
  • Injuries incurred by anyone because of the fire
  • Any necessary temporary repairs
  • Nature of damage
  • Description of items damaged
  • Other people involved in the fire

Maintain meticulous and organized records.

Pursuit of a fire damage claim potentially constitutes a long convoluted process.  Frequent communication with the insurance company is critical, which means lots of emails, phone calls, in person meetings, and letters.  A record of every instance of communication, including the time, place and subject matter of the interaction must be kept in case a claims dispute arises.  Relevant documents also should be kept organized and accessible.  Examples of relevant documents include bills, receipts, invoices, building permits, and repair agreements.  If you set up a binder with separate partitions to organize your records, this will make the task of working with the insurance company more efficient and allow you to be prepared if disagreements arise between you and the insurance company.

If your property damage claim has been denied following a fire in Miami or the surrounding areas of Florida, we might be able to help.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM. 

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