Fire & Smoke Damage Insurance Claims Lawyers
Protecting the Rights of Policyholders Nationwide
In most states, fire and smoke damage are perils covered by all homeowner and commercial property policies. Because of this, policyholders are often taken aback when their property insurer denies or underpays their claim for these damages. Unfortunately, this is a common practice for many insurance companies in an attempt to minimize their payout responsibilities.
If you’ve experienced fire and smoke damage, and your insurance company has underpaid or denied compensation for your claim, contact one of our experienced fire and smoke damage insurance attorneys at Potts Law Firm to evaluate your case. We have extensive experience handing all types of insurance litigation, including denied claims, insurance bad faith claims, and more. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless we secure a successful result for you.
Call Potts Law Firm at (888) 420-1299 or reach us online via our secure contact form.
How Does a Fire or Smoke Damage Insurance Claim Work?
Approximately every 24 seconds, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the U.S. Fires are a more common occurrence than many people realize; thus, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with your insurance policy and the insurance claim process.
When a fire occurs at your home or business, the aftermath can be devastating. The damage can be significant and require extensive and costly repairs. After suffering a major loss from a fire, you may be unsure what your rights are as a policyholder and may even be worried about whether you can trust your insurance company—as you should be.
Remember, your financial interests are in direct conflict with that of the insurer. Property owners will look to their insurance companies for relief when, unfortunately, many insurance companies will try to find anything they can to deny or delay your claim in an attempt to save money. If your insurance company acts in bad faith, meaning it fails to uphold its legal obligations to you, the policyholder, you can take legal action.
Types of Damages in Fire & Smoke Damage Claims
Depending on your policy terms, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:
- Smoke damage
- Loss of belongings, personal property
- Cost of temporary living
- Interrupted business
- Detached property (fences, garages, sheds)
This is not an exhaustive list; you can review your policy to view the full list of covered benefits and potential damages you can receive when you file a fire or smoke damage claim. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our fire and smoke damage attorneys at Potts Law Firm. We provide personalized legal counsel and guidance throughout the claims filing process.
What to Do If Your Fire or Smoke Damage Claim Is Denied
Your claim can still be denied, as your insurance company will work with appraisers to determine the extent and validity of the damage. If your insurer suspects a reason to believe that you set the fire intentionally or that the fire was a result of an illegal act, they will reject the claim.
In fact, there is a variety of reasons why your claim may be denied, including but not limited to:
- Allegations of arson
- Insurance policy violations
- Illegal activities occurring at the property (selling of drugs, alcohol, etc.)
- Lack of coverage
The burden of proof is on the insurance provider and not the homeowner. If they deny your claim without any direct evidence, they may be acting in bad faith.
Do not settle for a reduced settlement. Property owners who have valid fire claims and are unhappy with the outcome should consider acquiring legal assistance. If you believe you were wrongly denied by your insurer, one of our fire insurance attorneys can investigate. You have a right to challenge your insurer’s decision, and Potts Law Firm can fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Get Legal Assistance After Filing a Fire Insurance Claim
The process of filing a residential or commercial fire insurance claim can be extremely complex. If you have experienced a fire at your property, our attorneys here at Potts Law Firm have the knowledge to help you get through this difficult event. We want to help you get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
We would be happy to confidentially review your claim and answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at (888) 420-1299 or contact us online with a brief description of your situation so we can assess and help you recover fair compensation.
In the event of a fire on your property, you must file a fire insurance claim to cover the costs of damages and other losses incurred. This should cover the expenses of any necessary repairs or replacements.
Here are some things you should do when filing a fire or smoke damage claim:
- First and foremost, ensure the safety of each member of your household.
- Make a list of everything lost or damaged in the fire
- Take photographs of all damage to document your claim.
- Try to prevent further damage if possible.
- Review your insurance policy to see a list of covered perils and benefits.
- Talk to a lawyer to improve the chance of securing a favorable settlement.
If your property has sustained a fire—whether it is a minor kitchen fire, a major housefire, or damage from a wildfire—it is important that you file an insurance claim as soon as possible. The sooner you do this, the higher the return is likely to be.
If you are unsure if you have a case, don’t hesitate to call us today for a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys are ready to review your claim and fight for you.
Q:What does a standard homeowner or commercial policy cover?
Most homeowner and commercial property policies cover the majority of damages and losses resulting from fires, including smoke damage, partial and total losses of property, damage to belongings, and damage related to soot and ash. Every policy is different, so be sure to check your specific policy for more information about covered losses.
Q:What are common issues policyholders face when filing a fire and smoke insurance claim?
When filing a fire and smoke claim, policyholders may experience some of the following issues:
- Complex insurance coverage claims, forms, and disputes
- Bad faith claims (when an insurance company does not operate with good faith and fair dealing)
- Lowball payments by insurance companies (underpayment of recognized and approved claims)
Q:What are common reasons/ways insurance companies delay, underpay, or deny recovery for fire and smoke damage?
Some of the common ways in which insurance companies delay, underpay, or deny fire and smoke damage claims include:
- Attributing the damage to wear and tear
- Stating the damage is merely cosmetic
- Underpaying/omitting certain repairs to result in a repair cost that is below your deductible
- Delay in handling and payment of the claim
Q:Why should I seek counsel from an insurance attorney for my fire and smoke damage claim?
Seeking counsel from an insurance attorney is essential when resolving an insurance dispute for fire and smoke damage. Insurance attorneys possess the knowledge to interpret insurance contract language while also considering their knowledge of insurance laws. If you find yourself facing an insurance provider who has promised coverage but has denied or underpaid your insurance claim, it is important you speak to an attorney who can help you understand your rights.
Q:Does Potts Law Firm handle both homeowner and commercial property claims?
Our practice at Potts Law Firm includes both homeowners and commercial property owners’ claims involving fire and smoke loss and damage, as well as economic loss.
Q:My claim was denied or only partial repairs were given. What do I do now?
If you’ve contacted your insurance company regarding an insurance claim and have been denied or underpaid, you should immediately:
- Document all conversations and interactions between you and your insurance provider/agent
- Keep a file of all documents/photos of damages so you can preserve evidence of your loss
- Contact an insurance attorney
You may be entitled to more compensation than originally offered by your insurance company. With detailed claim information and a review of your policy documents, an insurance attorney can determine if you have a case.
Q:I’ve experienced a loss due to fire or smoke damage. What do I do next?
If you’ve experienced a loss due to fire or smoke damage, document all related damages and property loss; then file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible.
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“Michael Bins has been extremely helpful in helping us to navigate a situation with an insurance claim on a commercial property. He’s gone above and beyond in moving our case toward a positive resolution that we’re satisfied with.”- Theo C.
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