What To Do When An Insurance Company Denies Your Fire Damage Claim
Fire damage to a business or home is something every property owner fears. The sudden and unexpected nature of a fire, with its devastating effects, is something nobody wants to happen. Unfortunately, structure fires do happen, more often than we think. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 1 million structure fires causing $21 billion in residential fire damage occur yearly in the United States. What’s more, the number of residential structure fires have risen significantly since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. On average, a residential fire occurs once every 89 seconds in the United States.
The first question most property owners will have is, “Will my insurance cover this?” The answer should usually be “Yes”. After all, Florida homeowners pay ever-increasing insurance premiums to cover exactly this type of disaster. Fires can damage not only the building structure, but anything within it, causing severe and costly damage. While an insurance payout can’t bring back some of the lost valuables, it can help homeowners put their lives back together.
Costs typically associated with fire damage include:
- Repairing or replacing structural damage
- Repairing smoke, soot, and water damage
- Replacement of interior structures, appliances, and personal belongings
- Additional Living Expenses (e.g., food and lodging in hotels while the insured’s property is uninhabitable)
- Repair or replacement of electrical wiring and plumbing
Getting to the stage where everything is fixed and paid for is not so simple, however. Often, homeowners will be left perplexed by a lowball settlement offer or even a denial of the insurance claim. Reasons for this could be several, but insurance companies will not hesitate to use them.
Denials or limits to claims could be based on the reasoning that:
- The damage was not covered by your policy
- Policy exclusions limit coverage
- Documentation and evidence does not support the amount of damages claimed
- The insured failed to submit requested documentation, or failed to allow the insurance company to inspect the damage
- The insured missed deadlines set out within the policy
- A premium payment was missed
- Allegations of fraud or misrepresentation
- Allegations of arson, or negligence by the insured causing the fire.
Another reason could simply be bad-faith negotiations by the insurance company. This opens up another avenue to question the insurer’s denial which may require some skilled legal help.
Regardless of the basis for denial, or settlement offer that you believe is unfair, you have the right to dispute an insurance company’s decision. Florida Law also provides a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights detailing important rights of homeowners and responsibilities of insurers. When contesting an insurance company’s actions, it is usually best to do this with an insurance claims lawyer that is familiar with the techniques an insurer will use to save money and deny all or part of a claim.
Our Daytona, Florida Fire Damage Insurance Attorneys can Help You Contest an Unfavorable Decision and Fight for the Claim You Deserve
Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A., is a law firm that has handled all types of property damage claims, including fire damage claims where disputes often arise. We realize that, unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always “play fair” and some type of legal intervention may be needed at times. We will thoroughly review all aspects of your claim and discuss the options available to you. Call our Daytona law offices at 386-252-5170 or contact our Daytona Beach property damage attorneys online to request a consultation today.