Fire claims can result in a total loss to the most valuable asset owned by many middle class families, so policyholders need confidence that they can obtain the full amount of their claim from their insurance carrier.  

Consider Retaining an Insurance Claims Attorney

While it is advisable to retain your owner contractor or estimator so you have a starting point for evaluating the insurance company’s estimate of the loss, you may want to hire an experienced insurance claims attorney, as well.  The insurance claims attorney will have experts that he or she works with that can conduct an inspection and determine the value of your loss based on your best interest rather than the best interest of the insurance company.  He or she can also negotiate with the insurance carrier and make certain that you have complied with all of the technical post-loss conditions in your policy.  

Avoid Discontinuation of Your Premiums

A common mistake made by policyholders is to stop making premium payments after they suffer a loss.  Subsequent losses can be denied if you discontinue premium payments because your policy will lapse for non-payment of premiums and you will be uninsured.

Obtain Appropriate Estimates for the Cost of Repair Supported by Documentation

When you are pursuing a fire damage claim, you need to review your policy to determine what type of coverage you have.  If you have “replacement” coverage, you are entitled to have the home and property inside the home replaced regardless of the value of the property that is lost up to your policy limits.  While you can elect not to actually rebuild and spend the money on something else entirely, the policy converts to an “actual cash value” policy in this situation, which will provide less recovery.  “Actual cash value” is a type of coverage that permits you to recover the replacement value of the property less depreciation. 

Depending on the type of coverage, the insurer will require an estimate of the cost of repair or fair market value of the property damaged or lost.  Because the adjuster sent by the insurance company will be loyal to the insurer, you will want to use your own contractor or other expert to prepare an estimate of the cost.  A policyholder should never accept a settlement from an insurer without seeking a consultation with a insurance claims professional.

Take Time Reaching a Settlement

Insurers often try to close fire claims promptly particularly if a loss occurs during a mass disaster.  Policyholders generally are less likely to leave items out of their claim if they do not rush to close the claim.  When an insured is dealing with damage to his or her home, the policyholder typically will suffer extreme stress and anxiety.  An insured is never well advised to hastily enter into a premature settlement under these circumstances.  The insurer might even send you a check with a notation that acceptance of the payment constitutes settlement of the claim.  Do not cash such a check without obtaining legal advice from an experienced insurance claims lawyer.

You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].

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