Understanding the Fire Claims Process
There’s nothing more devastating than seeing your home go up in flames. When this happens, you may be going through many feelings of panic, frightfulness, or sadness. Luckily, fire fighters are there to protect us. However, when it’s time to call our insurance companies for more help, they often don’t give us the proper care and attention we deserve.
You may be wondering what the steps are to properly file a fire insurance claim and what to do to ensure you are well taken care of by your insurance company. Well, you came to the right place!
What to Do After the Fire
Once the fire has been taken care of and you are safe, take pictures of the damage and make a list of all you have lost. You may want to clean everything up and toss damaged belongings in the garbage, but do not throw anything away. You want to have a detailed list of all your losses (with proof) before you call your insurance company – which you also need to do as soon as possible.
What Does My Policy Cover?
Most policies will cover dwelling (the home you live in), other structures of your dwelling (garage, sheds, etc.), personal property (furniture, clothes, paintings, etc.), and loss of use or living expenses (the cost of temporary housing, pet boarding, food, etc.). Insurance companies typically cover these as based on the replacement value or the real cost value.
Review Your Policy
Every insurance policy is different, so locate your policy to determine how much and what type of coverage you have, what is covered, what is excluded, how your claim must be filed, and if there are deadlines for filing. Most of this information can be located near the beginning of the policy on the declaration’s page. If you can’t find your policy, call your insurance for more information and ask for a copy of your policy.
When to Call the Insurance Company
You need to contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Do not put this off. Many insurance companies have strict deadlines for contacting them to file a claim. Some policies may even require you to give written notice, which is why it is important to check what is outlined in your policy.
What You Will Need to Provide
In order to begin the claims process, you might need to submit certain forms or paperwork beforehand. You will usually need to submit a letter stating the extent of the damage and a statement about what occurred. Sometimes, they may need you to provide even more. Remember, it is always better to provide them with more information than less, so make sure you are extremely thorough in every detail.
What Your Insurance Company Will Do
After you have given all the proper information to the insurance company, they will hand it over to a claims representative to analyze your policy. The claims representative will learn your policy limits, what is covered, what is excluded, your deductibles, and any other information that is valuable to your case.
Once they have learned about the details of your policy, they should send you a letter regarding their analysis. If you disagree with their examination or see any issues, contact them immediately. When you reach an agreement, the claim will either be paid or they will hire an investigator depending on the size and circumstances.
If an investigator is required, they will come to your home to perform an investigation and will complete a full report on their findings. Then, the insurance company will come up with a plan to gather cost estimates in order to fix, rebuild, or repair your home.
The Payment Process
Every payment is different depending on your plan and the loss you have occurred. If the damage is small, the insurance company might just write you a check. However, if there is extensive damage, your insurer may advance some of the costs needed to rebuild or repair your home throughout the process. Be sure to ask your claims adjuster about the payment process – don’t forget to get it in writing.
How Long Is the Process?
There is no exact timeline for a claims process to be completed. However, most are finished within three months. Make sure to stay in close contact with your claims representative. Anyone can forget about things that need to be done, so you should be staying on top of the process to ensure everything is going smoothly and as planned.
Ryan Orsatti Law
If you are looking for a fire damage attorney in San Antonio, Texas, look no further than Ryan Orsatti Law. Ryan Orsatti understands the law and will work directly with you and the insurance company to ensure you are properly taken care of. Insurance companies are only interested in helping themselves. Ryan Orsatti has your best interests through it all. Call us today at 210-525-1200 for a free case evaluation.