Fire Loss / Claim
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire at your homestead or business can be overwhelming. The loss and damage suffered can cause a tremendous emotional drain. Of course, you’re glad you have insurance to help you out. However, you may be surprised to find resistance from your insurance company.
Your insurance company may find a reason to deny your claim altogether or they may say that you have not suffered a total loss from the fire. Your insurance company will send one of their adjusters who will take pictures, interview you, and produce an estimate. But take note, this person is not working for you. They are working for the insurance company and may not have your best interest in mind. The adjuster may spend only a small amount of time inspecting the damage to your property and conclude that the damage you suffered is much less than what other contractors have estimated your repairs to cost. You can quickly find yourself in an argument with your insurance company over what items should be repaired and what should be replaced.
It is important to remember that the claim adjuster used by the insurance companies may not be, or have ever been, a contractor. Like most areas, in South Florida the majority of insurance adjusters have been taught by the insurance companies through classes rather than having hands on experience. This can result in the estimate not only undervaluing items, but perhaps even missing items that you have the right to be compensated for.
Your insurance company may also lead you to believe that when repairing or replacing property under your insurance claim you are obligated to use a contractor they have approved. This is not the case; you can use whoever you want even if they don’t have the lowest bid. However, the insurance company does have the right to negotiate with the contractor about the price and review the estimates to ensure the price is not being inflated.
If you have suffered fire loss, most insurance policies have an appraisal clause in the “Conditions” or “What to do after a loss” sections of the policies. This clause sets out how to handle a dispute between you and the insurance company. The process is similar to arbitration and generally provides that either you or the insurance company can invoke the clause by written notice. Usually it is the insurance company that invokes the appraisal clause rather than the policyholder because they have a better understanding of the policy and its terms.
If you suffered a fire loss in South Florida and your insurance company has relied on the appraisal clause, or informed you that you can rely on the clause if you disagree with them, then we can help you explore your options. If you purchased a fire insurance policy to protect yourself and now your insurance company does not want to pay what you are owed, you may need the help of an attorney and we can help you. The insurance company is experienced in the language and terms of the policy and knows what rights they have. Let our attorneys level the playing field for you.
The consultation is free! Furthermore, DRG Firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means we do not charge you if we do not recover.
If your insurance company denied, undervalued, or ignores your fire loss claim please call DRG Firm. Our attorneys are available 24/7. Please give us a call at 1.888.413.8353