Your homeowners' insurance policy should cover all damages that were caused by a fire, whether the fire started in the basement of your home or came in like a raging inferno from one of the forests located nearby. The first step in the process called fire injury claim steps is to contact your insurance company to initiate the claim process.
The amount of your compensation depends on the type of policy that you took out to cover losses. Replacement cost coverage recovers the costs of repairing or replacing your home, as well as any lost or damaged personal items. Actual cash value pays you the value of your home before the fire minus any depreciation
Your insurer designates an adjuster to handle your claim, and the adjuster should remain the primary contact of the insurance company throughout the claims process. Make sure to confirm the identity of the insurance adjuster before the adjuster arrives at your home. Scammers make it a career to rip off vulnerable homeowners after a disaster of any kind.
Let’s review the fire injury claim steps.
Document Every Loss
The heart of any homeowners claim is evidence of the losses a homeowner incurred because of fire damage. Take photographs and videos of the damage done to your home, as well as create a list of personal items that either require repairs or need to be replaced. For each item listed, associate it with the price you paid for the item. Gathering and organizing receipts can boost the credibility of your claim.
Michael Barry, who represents the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute (III) says, “The more you can document your property losses before the insurance adjuster arrives, the faster the claims-filing process will go. A standard homeowners insurance policy not only covers damage to the home’s structure but also the homeowner’s personal property.”
Document Every Injury
Taking images of personal injuries is just one part of documenting injuries after a fire accident. You also want to gather and organize copies of medical records, including the results of diagnostic tests and the extent of any rehabilitation program. Medical expenses by far consume the most of your personal finances after a fire. You also should organize the timekeeping records that demonstrate how much time the fire accident has caused you to miss work.
Take a Tour With the Insurance Adjuster
Photographs and videos of the damage done to your home represent persuasive evidence that can expedite the processing of your insurance claim. However, a first-hand account of what the fire left behind might be the most important step in the homeowners insurance claim process. Take the insurance adjuster on a tour of your home, which gives the adjuster the opportunity to shoot images of the scene that verify the images you have already taken.
Document All Communications
You can expect plenty of back and forth between you and the insurance adjuster. Email, text messages, and phone conversations keep your claim moving along the process towards compensation. Make sure to save the emails and text messages that you exchange with the insurance adjuster. Take notes every time you meet with the insurance adjuster, as well as document every missed appointment and unreturned phone call. You might not need to document communications to resolve your insurance claim, but the information can come in handy if your claim reaches the litigation stage of the claims process.
Make a Copy of Every Document
The last thing you want to happen when advancing through the fire injury claim steps is to lose one or more valuable documents. Make a copy of every document that you give the insurance adjuster, such as the cost of each personal item lost or damaged because of the fire. If the adjuster suggests that you should start with repairs, get the suggestion in writing and then make a copy of it for safekeeping. For digital documents, make a copy of each one and then back up the files in case you need access to the documents later in the claims process.
Resolve the Claim
We have reached the last of the fire injury claim steps: The resolution of your claim. One of the most compelling reasons to hire an attorney from Morgan & Morgan is we can help you calculate an accurate value for what your insurance company should provide in compensation. If the insurance company sends you an offer that falls below your expectations, then the time has come to negotiate a settlement. After going back and forth a few times, your insurance company should want to find common ground to settle your claim.