Homeowner Insurance Fire Damage Claims: Notice and Documentation

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

When your home becomes engulfed in flames during a fire, the damage to your residence can be substantial.  The home may be uninhabitable temporarily or even permanently.  Fires can cause hidden water and smoke damage that might not be discovered without careful inspection.  When a homeowner submits a claim for fire damage, he or she also faces the very real prospect that the insurance company might accuse the policyholder of arson.  The loss of your home and/or belongings to a fire can be an extremely upsetting experience, but many policyholders endure even more stress and frustration when their insurance company refuses to promptly settle and pay fire damage claims.

Given the complex factual and legal issues involving fire damage claims, you might want to speak with an experienced insurance claims lawyer if your insurance company refuses to answer your questions or pay your claim.  

File Your Fire Claim Promptly and Pressure Your Insurer to Respond ASAP

Policyholders are obligated under insurance policies to file their claim as soon as reasonably possible.  If you contact your insurance company immediately, this will allow you to get the process started promptly.  An important part of the initial process involves submitting a “sworn proof of loss”.  This document needs to provide an inventory of the property that you lost and the value of each possession.  If your home is one of many damaged in a fire, tardiness in pursuing the claim could result in substantial delays because your claim might be relegated to the bottom of the list of claims.

When submitting your claim, the information you should provide includes:

  • Type of damage or loss experienced
  • Date of fire
  • Any police report or fire report
  • Injuries suffered in the fire
  • Description of possessions damaged in the fire
  • Location of damaged property
  • Remedial measures necessary to prevent further damage

The claims process is complicated and time intensive, but claimants can improve the outcome of their claim by keeping organized records.  The typical claims process might include many communications and request for information and documents.  Policyholders should take notes regarding the date, time, contact person and substance of every communication whether via telephone, email or letter.  If you furnish documents to your insurer, you should provide copies while retaining the originals.  Insurance companies must meet statutory deadlines when responding once you file a claim and indicating whether the claim is covered, so your promptness can facilitate faster settlement and payment.

Seek Estimates for Repairs and Keep All Documentation

When you are submitting information to your insurance company, you will need to provide an estimate of the cost of repair or fair market value of your property that has been damaged or destroyed.  An important step in the process is to retain an experienced contractor or estimator who has experience with fire damage and insurance claims.  While the insurance company will send their own adjuster to conduct an inspection and evaluate of the loss, estimates from these inspections will predictably favor the insurance company.

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].

 

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