Tips for Filing Fire Insurance Claims

Tips for Filing Fire Insurance Claims.

As fires become an increasingly prevalent threat, especially during the hot season.  The insurer tries to deny liability in any way to cut down their fire loss ratio in the underwriting portfolio.  Insured need to familiar on how to make a fire claim.  Losing your home and personal belongings to a fire is already a devastating experience. Nobody wants a hard time dealing with the insurer on the claim. Here are some tips to follow when dealing with fire insurer on you claims

1. Ask for an advance against your ultimate fire insurance claim If you were forced to evacuate due to the dangerous conditions. Just grabbed your important  documents and some clothing. Don’t panic. Call your insurer for some advanced of money. You can purchase the  necessities without having to wait for the final settlement. Take care of your needs, but be sure to not go overboard. Be practical with what you buy, because the insurer can refuse to reimburse you for frivolous things. For example, if you need a pair of slacks and a dress shirt to work. This advance will be deducted from the final settlement. Don’t worry, No Interest will be charged for this advanced.

2. Make a list of everything you’ve lost and do not throw anything away.  Do it immediately as it is still fresh in your memory. The fire adjuster needs to see the fire damaged article even though it burnt to ash.  It is a proof to claim from the insurer. You are denying your own right to claim by discard away the damaged item.

3. File your claim right away, it is the duty of the insured either by inform the agent or insurer. Call the insurer to send the adjuster ASAP to assess the loss. The insurer requires you to submit a “proof of loss claim”. This is the form includes all of the items you lost, including their value. Your prompt action is especially important if there were many other homeowners affected by the fire.

The following is a list of information to include in your claim.

1. Date of loss.

2. Type of loss or damage.

3. Location of damage.

4. Any related injuries.

5. Others involved.

6.The condition of the home.

7. Description of damaged contents.

8. Whether or not temporarily repairs are necessary.

9. An original police report.

Dealing with the claim is a very convoluted process involving countless calls, emails, letters, and documents. Be sure to keep track of all communication and keep a copy of all documents and post office receipts of mailing. It plays safe to ask the insurer give back the acknowledged back copy for all the documents tender to them. This is to avoid the future dispute of not receiving the required documents.

4. Secure your property to mitigate damage The insurer requires you to take reasonable care of your property. Therefore, be sure that you secure your property from further damage. It is unnecessary for a total loss. However, where only one section of your home is damaged, be sure to take proactive measures in preventing further damage. The mitigating loss means reducing the amount of damage. Ways to mitigate loss  include

• Covering holes in the walls and roof to protect from “full theft”

• Boarding up or building a fence to prevent looters •

• Smoldering all embers.

• Moving property that is at risk of further damage (for example, moving the unharmed television out from underneath the hole in the ceiling).

5. Keep track of your living expenses. Your fire policy includes a clause called “loss of use,”   It means that the insurer reimburses you for your living expenses while displaced from your damaged home. 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 petrol for your car, totaling an additional $1,000, your insurer company will only reimburse you the extra $1,000 per month. If you to stay with family members or friends instead of at a hotel. Sometimes, the insurance company will reimburse your host for the additional costs of your stay. Ask your host to itemize the additional costs. Take extra care to be reasonable and not frivolous, and be patient with your insurer should they want to negotiate with you for this cost. Politely remind the company that you are saving them a great amount of money in hotel and restaurant expenses by staying with loved ones.

6. Get the right repair estimates and keep receipts and documentation to everything. Filing fire insurance claims enables you to repair or even rebuild your damaged home. The reinstatement cost is  “Actual cash value” policies entitled you to the amount it would take to return your home, including its contents, to its before fire fair market value. “Replacement” policies entitled you to the amount it would take to replace the home and its contents, regardless of the value of what you lost. “Replacement” coverage does not require you to actually rebuild your home on the exact same lot. You can choose where you want to rebuild. So, long as it is the same value as your old lot, your insurance covers it. Of course, if you move to where the house more expensive, you will end up paying the difference. If you decide not to rebuild, but to invest the money in something completely unrelated, like a business or college fund, the “replacement” policy will become an “actual cash value” policy, providing you with about 15% less. The insurer requires an estimate of the fair market value or cost of replacement of damaged property before the fire. The insurer has in-house adjuster works in favor of the insurer. It is best to engage a reputable independent adjuster to deal with your insurer to determine the final sum of the claim.

7. It is a great mistake not continue paying your premium even though you filed a fire claim. The house owners’ policy including liability protection for your home, including pets.  The Animal also suffering stress too. Your beloved might chew your expensive bed. You can claim for the damaged bed too.If you stop paying the premium, sorry to say, there will be no claim for you.   Please bear mind to inform your new address to your insurer or agent.  Request to reduce the premium for vacant risk. Adjust this after your new home is built.

8. You might overlook in the initial claim. You can resubmit those omitted items to the insurer.  It is a common occurrence when there a mass destruction. 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 close your claim. It is your right not to close the claim so soon by sending them a letter thanking them for the payment, but asserting that you do not consider the claim closed.

9. If you are unable to reach an acceptable settlement after engaged your own independent estimator or contractor, consider hiring a public adjuster. Their role is to negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. The cost is worth it when hiring the public adjuster to help you to get a better compensation.

10. Don’t worry about losing your insurance coverage.  You would not be blacklisted,  unlike the car “habitual claimant” This is not the case. As long as you file your genuine claim with no element of fraud, the insurer will not penalize letting you in renewing your policy with them.  For more information, the following websites are extremely helpful to victims who need immediate help and answers

http://www.insuranceinfo.com.my/choose_your_cover/protect_your_possessions/home_insurance.php?intPrefLangID=1

 

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Jamin Wong

 



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