7 Things the Insurance Company Doesn’t Want You to Know About Your Fire Damage Claim

Posted in Homeowner Fire Claims on November 21, 2017

  1. You are entitled to an advance. You don’t have to have filed a claim to go and buy basic necessities to live. Keep all receipts and be reasonable in replacing like item for like item. Asking your company for an advance against the eventual claim is a common practice.
  2. If your home is a partial loss, or if you are dealing with smoke damage, the insurance company will want to clean the items first. Although this is reasonable it can be very difficult to get the smoke smell out of fabric so couches, chairs, drapes etc. can still be a total loss even if they were not directly damaged by the fire.
  3. Partial losses can also lead to hidden issues such as mold, mildew, soot, ash and air quality. Make sure your adjuster is using reputable cleaning companies that specialize in fire and water damage. Also, be insistent in having undamaged areas of your home, such as walls, opened to check for mold.
  4. HVAC units should be cleaned by a professional any time smoke is involved in a loss.
  5. Disputes often arise over line of sight or matching issues. The insurance carrier must return your property to a uniform and consistent appearance. This means that undamaged item such as flooring, carpet or roof tiles may sometimes need to be replaced in order to match.
  6. If you are staying with friends or family you may still be entitled to Additional Living Expenses (ALE). Just because you are not in a hotel or temporary housing does not mean you don’t get ALE. You should be able to negotiate a lesser amount for your inconvenience and the inconvenience to your family or friends.
  7. You can cash out with your insurance carrier and not rebuild your home.  Although the policy may revert to an Actual Cash Value policy rather than a Replacement Cost policy it is your right to cash out. Sometimes it is not worth the time and effort to rebuild, especially after a catastrophe and there is a lot of negotiating you can do with this option.