We all know how frustrating insurance companies can be. We have insurance because we need it in the event of some catastrophic event. However, once that unfortunate event occurs, insurance companies can make it extremely difficult for you to recover what you have lost. Our Florida property insurance claim attorneys understand that insurance policies are different, but the key goal is the same – make people as whole as possible after losing their property.
To help guide you in the event your home or business catches on fire, and your property suffers fire or smoke damage, follow the six steps below. These suggestions will help you have a greater chance of getting your fire damage claim resolved as quickly as possible, and will help you get what you deserve under your insurance policy.
1. Always keep an electronic copy of your policy. Whether you have an online account with your insurer, or you have your insurance policy in paper form in your home files, be sure to scan a copy of it so that you can find your policy in case it gets destroyed during a fire. Even though you can get a copy of your policy from your insurer after a fire occurs, it is best to have a copy that was produced prior to your home or business being damaged by a fire. Also, you should read your policy in depth prior to contacting your insurance carrier. It is very important to read and review your policy when you receive it, asking your agent questions so that you understand the coverage you have purchased and the exclusions or limitations in the policy to be sure that what you want coverage for is in fact protected.
2. Take pictures and take note of what is damaged. You should be taking pictures as soon as you possibly can after fire damage occurs. This should then be compared to the photos or video you took and safely stored prior to the event so you can prove what you had. Be the first to survey everything so that you can prove what was damaged. Make a list to inventory all damaged and undamaged property.
3.Don’t touch or remove anything from the property after it has been damaged by fire. Your first inclination after going through a devastating fire may be to grab everything you can salvage. Before collecting your personal property, you should have an adjuster evaluate the damaged property after you have taken pictures. It is best to leave the property in the condition it was in after the damage occurred so that an insurance adjuster can accurately calculate what damage was caused by the fire. If you remove something, there could be discrepancies that may affect the processing of your insurance claim. But, insurance policies require you to do any emergency repairs needed to prevent additional damage. There are specialized companies who do this emergency work. It is important to document all measures that are taken to mitigate (reduce) additional damage.
4. After your home or business has been damaged by a fire, contact your insurance company right away. Call your property insurance carrier first, and then follow up with a written letter with your signature. Scan or make a copy of the letter for your own records. The sooner you contact your insurance carrier, the sooner the investigation process can begin, and the sooner you can receive proceeds under your policy. We advise that you call a qualified lawyer to represent you and get you fully compensated for your loss. Our firm has qualified loss consultants, experts (engineers, contractors, plumbers, roofers, etc, who are licensed and insured who review claims and give us their honest professional opinions.
5. Keep track of all communication with your insurance carrier. As you insurance claim progresses, keep copies and take notes of all correspondence between you and your insurance company. This includes copies of letters, emails and a log of all phone calls, both from you to the insurer and from the insurer to you. You will then be prepared for any dispute that may arise. If your records don’t match up with the insurance carrier’s records, then something may be wrong.If you hire a lawyer that will be their job.
6. Call an experienced fire damage insurance claim attorney. Whether your insurance carrier has disputed your claim, denied your claim, or if you simply want to ensure your insurance carrier follows through, contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can review your insurance policy with you, review the files you have kept regarding your insurance claim, and can help you be prepared in the event a claim is wrongfully denied. Don’t settle for what the insurance carrier offers you. If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t, especially if you fully understand your policy.
There’s no guarantee that your insurance carrier will fulfill its end of your insurance contract, however, the six steps above will definitely help you be prepared for the situation when your insurer acts in bad faith. You will at least have all the proof you need on your side.
Contact Our South Florida Fire Damage Claims Lawyers Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation
Greenberg Stone and Urbano employs Miami Fire Damage Insurance Claims Lawyers who have over 100 years of combined experienced in successfully advocating for their clients. Our attorneys will fight to protect you against the bad faith denial of fire damage claims. Our attorneys have been named “Superlawyers,” denoting them as some of the best lawyers in America. Our attorneys also have been voted “South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers” by the Miami Herald, have been rated “AV” by Martindale Hubbell. The Miami Fire Damage Insurance Claims Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have also been invited to be members of Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Call Greenberg Stone and Urbano today to schedule your free consultation to evaluate your potential claim with one of our attorneys. You may contact us through our website or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400.