Nearly everyone who has had to deal with fire damage to their property makes costly errors during and after settlement. But policyholders often make the same costly mistakes over and over again, without even realizing it. The winner, or should we say loser, is the policyholder who relies on their insurance adjuster to inspect, assess, and estimate their entire insurance claims without actually checking on them. This could be the biggest mistake a person can make in their whole life.
It is bad enough that your property is destroyed by fire. But relying on another person to inspect your property, give a value and then trust that it was all right… That’s simply I N S A NA N E! This happens every day, even though policyholders are complicit. Most people are accustomed to counting their change at the grocery store and carefully reviewing their dinner bill to make sure they didn’t pay for any items that were not ordered. We’ve all done it. We do everything possible to keep track of how much we have. We rely on insurance companies when we have to pay thousands, or even hundreds, of thousands, of dollars for a fire insurance claim.
Nobody knows your property better than you. It is difficult to prepare and properly configure a fire insurance policy claim. In most cases, items are overlooked or forgotten. This is especially true if the person doing it is not your insurance company. They don’t have access to your building, property, or contents (furniture and clothing, etc.). They don’t know as much about you, your building, or your contents (furniture and clothing, etc.) They are not as precise as you. A property inspection by an insurance adjuster does not imply that they are a contractor, builder or certified in fire and flood damage restoration.
We have reviewed thousands of closed claims and found that both policyholders and insurance companies often overlook damages that are not obvious to the naked eye. It is a good idea for your fire damage claim to be reviewed by a professional in almost all cases. A fire consulting company, consultant or appraiser of fire insurance claims is preferred.
Many policyholders believe that if the insurance company sends them money and they deposit it in their bank account, the claim is closed. It is impossible to believe that this could be farther from the truth. In most states, a policyholder has three years to file a claim or add to an existing one. A review of your claim can be done during or after settlement to determine if you were properly compensated. Even if your claim has been settled, you can still get more money.
Even if you have settled your claim and deposited the checks or your building was torn down and destroyed, you can still get more insurance proceeds if you did not properly assess the damage. Many cases result in thousands, or even hundreds of millions of dollars more. Even if a policyholder thinks they received a fair settlement, they often are not.
It’s up the policyholder, however, to take precautions to ensure their safety. These are some tips that will help you review your fire insurance claim. These tips are for claims that are still in progress. There are also tips for claims that have already been closed.
1. During Claim –
Document your Building Damage: Take the time and inspect the damage yourself. Photograph all rooms damaged in your building. Take photos of each room. Next, take close-up shots of damaged ceilings, walls and floors. You can also take photos of the room. Turn clockwise and work your way around to the left. Take a look around before you enter the next room, closet or hall. It will make it easy to identify which photos belong in which rooms. One example: An overview of the living room. Next, from top to bottom, photos ceiling, walls and windows. Finally, photos of the floor. Next, the overview of the room will be shown. (No close-ups or pictures of the contents are available yet. Only the rooms.
1. Closed Claim
Get Documents of Your Building: During their inspection, the insurance adjuster took photos of your building. You can request all photos from the insurance company if you do not have any photos or if there are only a few. Also, request the sketch/diagram they used to calculate your building’s square footage. You should also request the detailed estimate that they wrote to arrive at these numbers. This information will prove useful to the fire insurance consultant you choose.
2. During Claim –
Document your Contents Damage: Next, you will need to go back to each closet and room to take inventory of the contents. You will need to take a photo of every piece of furniture, each pair of shoes, and any shirts, pants. Next, take a close-up photograph of any damage to the item. Each item should be listed on a Contents Inventory form. You can download one by clicking the link below. You should organize your contents in the same way that you organized the photos of building damage. For example, take an overview of your living room and then move clockwise around the room. Take photos of all items on the walls and then list them until you reach the doorway where you started. You can ensure that items are not lost or forgotten. After the inventory of your living room is complete, you can move on to the next room. Take an overview photo of each room. This helps you organize the room contents. At the top of each page, list the room’s name. The photos and the list can now be arranged in a sequence.
2. Closed Claim
Get Documents of Your Contents Damage. The insurance adjuster also took photos of your contents during the inspection. You can request photos from the adjuster if you don’t have any photos or minimal photos. To verify their numbers, you should request the entire contents inventory that they have created. This information will prove useful to the fire insurance consultant you choose.
3. During Claim –
Re-examine Your Policy: All fire victims should take the time to examine their insurance policies. It is important to understand the basics. How much coverage do your buildings have? What coverage do you have on your contents (furniture and clothing)? What coverage is required to rent or stay at a hotel? Surprisingly many people don’t know this. Many times, the policy is damaged by fire. Visit your agent to request a certified copy. Ask your agent for details about the coverage you have.
3. Closed Claim
Request a Certified Copy of Your Policy: Contact your insurer to request a certified copy your “FULL” policy. This includes the Declarations page. This information will be helpful to the fire insurance consultant you choose.
4. During Claim –
Consult a Professional: An adjuster will visit your property to inspect the damage and give you a estimate of the loss. This is a process that should be repeated for your own benefit. How can you be sure that the adjuster is doing their job properly? Do you want to risk losing thousands of dollars by failing to verify the accuracy of your insurance adjuster? Although the insurance company should explain to policyholders all fire insurance coverage available, it is not often done. It can be done intentionally or on purpose. It’s more common to do this on purpose than not. It’s your property. It’s also your policy. And it’s all your money. To ensure that you receive full compensation for your loss, educate yourself. To review the evaluation of your insurance company, hire a professional in fire insurance claims. Get your own “real-world” costs and prices to replace your property.
4. Closed Claim
Consult a Professional: Was your fire insurance claim settled fairly? Asking someone will help you find out. You owe it yourself to determine if your insurance company has paid you fair compensation. Once you have all of the information, you will be able to submit your claim to a professional for review. The consultant will review your claim and advise you on where to go. It is a bad idea to leave yourself in the dark and risk losing thousands, or even hundreds, of thousands, of dollars. It is worth paying a small fee to determine where you stand, as opposed to large amounts of insurance proceeds you didn’t know existed.
These are the simple reasons. The reason is simple. The insurance company adjuster works for them, while the fire claims consultant works on your behalf. You did the right thing and made sure that you had insurance coverage. Now it’s your turn to make sure that you receive the coverage you purchased.