Top 10 Tips When Filing a Fire Loss – Part 2

In continuing our blog on Filing a Fire Claim, here’s the last five…

Keep Track of Your Living Expenses

  • While displaced from your home, you will get reimbursed for living expenses because of a clause in your policy called, “loss of use.”  Note, however, that you are only entitled to the difference between what it costs you while displaced and what it was costing you in your home. For example, if your monthly living expenses are $4,000 per month, but now you are having to add hotel stays, restaurant meals, laundry expenses, and extra gas for your car, totaling an additional $1,000, your insurance company will only reimburse you the extra $1,000 per month.

Continue to Pay Your Insurance Premiums

  • Just because you may not be residing in your home doesn’t mean you do not have to pay the insurance bill.  Many people stop paying the bill which is a huge mistake.  Your policy carries over to wherever you’re currently living.  If you’re staying at a friends home and your pet destroys a very expensive piece of furniture, without your policy being current, this is an expense that will be out of pocket.  It is very important to let your insurance company know where you are staying, and to always keep your policy current without a lapse.

You Can Always Reopen the Claim

  • Insurance companies are quick to close fire insurance claims, especially in mass disaster situations. The longer your claim is open, the greater chance for you to discover something you overlooked previously. This is actually a common occurrence. In such a stressful and confusing time, it is likely that you may forget to list an item of value in your initial insurance claim. Give yourself some time. Protect yourself by waiting a few months before consenting to closing your claim. You do have this power.
    Insurance companies will try and slide in a claim closing by adding language to your check. When they send you your check, they may say something like “acceptance of this payment will close your claim.” You do not have to accept this. Cross out the language, sign or initial next to it, and send them a letter thanking them for the payment, but asserting that you do not consider the claim closed.

Consider a Public Adjuster

  • A public adjuster is an individual hired to negotiate and handle the claim on your behalf.  Some people think that hiring an adjuster will anger the insurance carrier, but this is non-sense.  Insurance companies become multi-million dollar companies not by giving you money for your claim, but by trying every means possible to deny or close out your claim with them giving you far less than you are entitled too.  A public adjuster, who takes a percentage of the claim, knows the ins and outs of the insurance game, and will fight for every inch. We also have a blog on what to look for when hiring one of them, http://moldsolutions.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/tips-when-hiring-a-public-adjuster-part-1/

Do Not Worry About Being Dropped

  • Too familiar with automobile insurance companies raising premiums or completely dropping drivers, many people fear that filing fire insurance claims will cause their homeowners’ insurance company to do the same. This is not the case. As long as you file only legitimate claims after real disasters, you are not a “habitual claimant,” and there is no evidence of fraud on your part, your premium will not increase and you will not lose your coverage.

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About the author: Joe Fiorilli