Are you dealing with one or more significant disagreements with your insurance provider over your flood or fire insurance claim? Many homeowners who have had to temporarily relocate due to a house fire or a flood wind up feeling that their insurance company hasn’t made them a fair offer.
The costs of recovering from a house fire or a flood can be extensive, and your home insurance policy is meant to cover more than just the repairs. A typical home insurance policy will cover:
Structural Repair: which includes the costs to repair or rebuild your home after it’s been damaged. This may also cover the costs to repair secondary structures not attached to your home such as a shed or a garage. It will include your interior and exterior, foundations, flooring, and fixtures; but not aspects like your mortgage payments. You will have to continue to make payments even while your home is being rebuilt.
Personal Property and Contents: which includes the cost to replace the personal property lost or damaged in the fire. This would include things like electronics, clothing, linens, furniture, artwork, even food that spoiled due to water damage, smoke damage, or a prolonged loss of power.
Loss of Use or Additional Living Expenses: which include the increased costs associated with living your normal life while your home is in an unlivable condition. Things that might be covered by your insurance provider are temporary accommodations, food above your usual expenditure, new/additional travel, and storage costs. You may want to get an advance on this part of your coverage to help pay for expenses as they come up.
Costs can add up quickly, and without a fair insurance offer, you may wind up paying out of pocket.
If you’re wondering what to do after a house fire, one of the first things you should take care of is notifying your insurer and opening your insurance claim. Once the insurer formulates an offer, you should compare it with your insurance policy and decide whether it’s fair. If you accept it, will it cover everything that needs to be covered, or will you be out of pocket to get back to where you were before the fire or the flood? Home insurance should get you back to normal after a disaster.
As part of the process, you will have to deal with an insurance adjuster. This will be someone working for the insurance company, either a company employee or an independent contractor hired by the insurance company. Keep in mind that they are working with you to move your claim along, but they work for the insurer, and they have their interests in mind, not yours.
You now have three options:
1) Accept the low offer and pay out of pocket for some expenses.
2) Hire a public adjuster to work for you.
3) Hire a home insurance lawyer who can negotiate with the insurance company and go to mediation.
A home insurance lawyer can help you negotiate a better claim with both insurance and legal knowledge, whereas a public adjuster only brings insurance knowledge to the table.
A law firm that practices insurance law like Virani Law can help you through the process from the very beginning, including reviewing your insurance policy. You don’t have to wait until you’re at an impasse with the insurance company. Get help early on and you can get a fair settlement offer in the first place. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your insurance claim.