Denied, Delayed or Underpaid Insurance Claim? Claim Excellence
Very few disasters are more distressing than a fire. It can be a heartbreaking and traumatic event in a person’s life. Fire not only leaves your property damaged or destroyed, but it can also leave both physical and emotional scars that will never completely heal. Apart from having to be displaced temporarily, there are likely to be priceless possessions that can never be replaced or even properly valued.
If your home has been damaged or ruined by a fire, the last thing you need to worry about is whether your insurance company will provide you with the compensation you are rightfully due to pay for your damages and losses. However, many insurance providers shortchange their customers when it comes to assessing fire damage, delay payouts, or even deny their claims completely.
If you need assistance with a troublesome fire insurance claim, call The Cook Law Firm at (361) 541-4551. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help both residential and commercial property owners that have been unfairly treated by their insurance companies.
Common Fire Damages
Fires require immediate attention as they can cause a great deal of damages. There is the structural damage from the charring and burning of the home, which may possibly affect the structural integrity of property. There is smoke damage as the smoke penetrates the walls, carpets, and insulation. There is also likely to be water damage stemming from the efforts to extinguish the fire. If a property is not dried out, mold may begin to develop within 48 hours.
Fire insurance claims are subject to critical filing deadlines and steps that must be made as early as possible in the claims process. Consult with an experienced attorney to protect your legal rights and to ensure your fire damage claim has the best chance of obtaining the maximum results possible.
You may be able to recover the replacement value of your home and personal possessions, the cost of fire-related medical care, and the cost of restoring your property due to fire. If you lost pets and valuable keepsakes or heirlooms in the fire, you may be able to be reimbursed for their loss. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for emotional damages.
Content Coverage for Smoke Damage
Apart from the direct fire damage that flames can have on a person’s place of residence or business, it is smoke damage that often comprises a significant portion of the insurance claim. Smoke, like fire, can ruin almost everything that it comes in contact with. Sadly, fire victims usually fail to recognize the extent of smoke damage to their property as they are busy dealing with the emotional impact of their loss.
Smoke damage resulting from a fire can lead to staining on fabrics, the discoloration of walls, and can cause damage to furniture and wood flooring. It can leave behind a strong odor that cannot be eliminated unless done by a professional cleaning service. Smoke and soot can also cause respiratory issues such as lung irritation. The good news is that most fire insurance policies cover damage to items that are caused by smoke from a fire, as well as replacements for completely burned or damaged items. This includes all your personal property—from priceless family heirlooms to your favorite linens.
Unfortunately, disputes often arise when it comes to cleaning and replacing items when they have been exposed to smoke, soot, and ash. Though it is your insurance company’s obligation to restore, repair or replace damaged items, they do so at their own discretion.
The insurance adjuster may attempt to convince you that it is sufficient for you to simply wipe down all surfaces and items yourself, and may tell you that deep cleaning is not necessary. This is because the cleaning and drying process can be costly when done properly, and so the insurance company may be trying to avoid any additional expenses on their part. The insurance company may also attempt to restore items to save money when they should already be completely replaced.
It is vital that you stand your ground. Reject taking any shortcuts and avoid settling for improper or underpaid cleaning, restoration, or replacements. This is especially important if you or someone else in your home has asthma, allergies, and other similar conditions.
Possible Acts of Bad Faith Used by the Insurance Company
There are numerous types of illegal insurance actions under the law. Insurance companies are notorious for using prohibited tactics and strategies in their effort to protect their own best interests and pay policyholders as little as possible. Insurance companies know and take advantage of the fact that that many of their policyholders do not have the expertise, time, or energy to take them on.
Some examples of insurance company bad faith practices include:
- Hiring biased investigators and reviewers
- Failing to investigate in a timely fashion
- Denying coverage and claims without reasonable investigation and basis
- Allegations of arson
- Undervaluing damaged property
- Underpaying cleaning to damaged items
- Unreasonably delaying or withholding payments to the insured
- Paying the insured only a portion of the loss though the entire claim is payable
- Threats to the insured in an effort to lower the payout
Call The Cook Law Firm Today
We strongly believe that fire victims have suffered enough. The anguish and stress you feel from losing your possessions or your home do not need to be aggravated further by the difficulties of dealing with your insurance company’s unfair practices.
At The Cook Law Firm, we have the expertise to help you deal with your fire insurance claim. If you feel that your insurance company is treating you unfairly in the wake of a fire, call The Cook Law Firm, PLLC at (361) 541-4551 to work with legal counsel and determine the best course of action. We will stop at nothing to ensure that you are given the full compensation you need and deserve.