Fire Smoke Damage Attorneys
Fire is extremely dangerous and is a risk to both your property and your health. There’s a reason most homeowners insurance policies include fire damage provisions. Fire can cause severe damage or even completely destroy property. Fires can also strike anywhere. No building or location is immune from the risk of fire.
Homeowners and business owners pay a premium for insurance that will cover any damages a fire could cause. With the amount you pay for insurance, you would expect that your insurance company would cover the damages if the worst should happen.
But insurance companies are businesses wanting to make a profit. Many homeowners and business owners are surprised that their fire damage claims are either denied or approved for far too little. If you believe your fire damage claim was underpaid or wrongfully denied, then hiring a lawyer can help you fight for what you deserve. Your fire damage claim doesn’t deserve to be ignored. Fire damage can have lasting effects on your property. And denied claims can lead to bigger headaches down the road.
You may have legal recourse against the insurance company that failed to hold up their end of the agreement. Contact Farah & Farah today for a free consultation.
Causes of Fire and Smoke Damage
In both homes and businesses, many things can cause a fire to break out. These can range from natural disasters such as lightning strikes to faulty wiring to accidents in the kitchen. No matter the cause, provided the fire was not set intentionally, damage caused by fire should be covered by your insurance policy.
The destructive power of fire can emerge from many sources. Sometimes it’s from a neighboring structure, a wildfire, or one that starts within your home. The most frequent causes of fire in the home or in a commercial property include:
- Open flames
- Cooking or cooking equipment
- Lighting and electrical equipment/malfunctions
Many home fires are caused by equipment misuse or homeowners not paying enough attention to something like a burning candle or space heater. But many others are caused by the aging home equipment. For example, the frayed cords on appliances like toasters can become a fire hazard. It’s essential to make sure all appliances like furnaces and electrical systems are up-to-date to avoid fire sources.
Is Fire and Smoke Damage Covered By My Homeowners Insurance?
Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover fire damage. However, it’s important to know exactly what is covered in your policy when you take it out. It’s possible that fire damage can be. Or your coverage may have a limit that is less than the actual value of your property. After a fire, it’s common to have questions like “is smoke damage covered by insurance” or “does homeowners insurance cover fire damage.”
Never forget that insurance companies are usually looking out for number one. Coverage and coverage limits will vary on a case-by-case basis. There’s no way to know if your claim meets the conditions outlined in your policy without reviewing your policy guidelines. However, here are some examples of fire and smoke damages covered by homeowners insurance:
- Damage to the structure
- Appliances and electronics
- Landscaping and outdoor foliage
- Damage that affects outdoor structures like sheds, garages, or gazebos
- Temporary relocation expenses
Business owners may expect similar coverage levels as a result of property damage. Business interruption coverage may help make up for lost income when an insured’s business is damaged because of a fire. Fire damage can cause a business to reduce or briefly halt operations.
The quickest way to know if your insurance covers your fire and smoke damage is to contact a fire damage lawyer. They can review your policy with you and help you determine your next steps.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Smoke and Fire Damage
It is important that you act as quickly as possible following damage from fire or smoke. Get the ball rolling on your claim by:
- Contacting your insurance agent or company as quickly as possible. Do not delay or put off this important step.
- Carefully review your policy. The declarations page will have information about the filing deadline, coverage, exclusions, limitations, or deductibles. If your policy was lost in the fire, ask the insurance agent to provide you with a copy.
- Take pictures of any accessible damage on the scene. It’s possible that the authorities may have blocked off sections of the property. Do not trespass in any blocked-off areas as they could be dangerous to your health.
- Start collecting important information for your claim. These include assets like the police report, the time/date of the damage, estimates from professionals, receipts for damages, receipts for meals/hotels needed, inventory for all damaged items.
After a fire, it’s never too soon to talk to a professional about your next steps. Contacting an experienced fire and smoke damage lawyer can help streamline the fire damage claims process.
What if Your Fire & Smoke Damage Claim is Denied?
Insurance companies don’t make money by paying money out. Your insurance company may be looking for any excuse not to pay or pay less than the true value of your fire damage claim.
There are many valid reasons insurance companies deny fire claims. Florida and Georgia follow the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act (UCSPA). This Act is intended to help protect policyholders against negligent insurers. Common forms of unfair claim handling include:
Allegations of Arson or Fraud
If you set the fire deliberately, whether to commit insurance fraud or for another reason, the insurance company won’t be responsible for paying for the damage. This means that the insurance company may allege that you set the fire deliberately in order to get out of paying.
Differences in Valuation
The insurance company’s adjuster may have determined that the value of the damaged property is a lot less than you believe it is. Even if they agree to pay, the amount you get may be less than what it will actually cost to repair the full amount of damage to your property. This is why it is important to have an independent professional inspect the damage to your property after the fire. They can provide you with proof you need to fight for a higher amount.
Violated Policy Terms
If there are terms and conditions to your insurance policy that aren’t followed, the insurance company may have an excuse to deny your claim. It’s therefore essential that you read your policy in full and completely understand any terms that may exist so that you know you’ve kept up your end of the agreement.
Having your fire claim denied can be extremely frustrating. The insurance company may reverse their denial if new facts emerge that demonstrate that their decision was due to false evidence.
Some common reasons why an insurance company may deny your fire damage claim include:
- Exceeded coverage limits
- Insufficient evidence
- Losses not covered in policy
- Missing deadlines
- Late or missing premium payments
Smoke and Fire Damage Attorneys in Florida & Georgia
You deserve answers if a fire has damaged your home or business and that insurance company is either denying your claim or flat out refusing to pay. A fire damage attorney can help you understand the terms of your insurance policy and fight on your behalf for what you’re owed. You don’t have to settle for less. You deserve to get the full amount of coverage to repair the damage to your home or business.
A house fire lawyer can help you not only understand the terms of your insurance policy so you know what you should be owed, but also fight on your behalf to ensure that you get the full amount of coverage to repair the damage to your home or business.
Farah & Farah’s legal team are experts in insurance law and have a lot of experience taking on insurance companies. Don’t wait for the insurance companies to do right by you. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. You won’t pay a dime unless your case is successful.
You & Your Family Since 1979