As a homeowner, filing an insurance claim after a fire can have high stakes. Fire and smoke damage can be extremely expensive, even in a small fire. Between soot removal, smoke remediation, and structural repairs to fire-damaged parts of your home, the costs can quickly add up, and that is even before you have to consider replacing lost belongings and paying to stay elsewhere while those repairs are made.
Not all insurance claims need the assistance of an insurance lawyer or a public adjuster for fire damage, but in the right circumstances, they can make a significant difference. Not only can they help you secure a fairer settlement, but they can make the process much easier.
Find out when it makes sense to hire someone to help with your insurance claim.
#1 You have a major claim or a total loss.
The size of the claim is usually the defining factor in whether or not you need to bring on a public adjuster or a lawyer. When it comes to small claims, most homeowners can usually handle themselves, and it is not worth the fees of bringing in an expert.
But when you have lost your entire home, or the necessary repairs are extensive, they can make a big difference. Insurance companies have more motivation to cut down on costs and save wherever they can. An insurance lawyer or adjuster will help make sure your interests are not overlooked and a fair settlement is reached.
#2 You want to save yourself time and stress.
An insurance lawyer or public adjuster can also save you both time and stress. The insurance claims process can last a long time, and it requires you to learn and understand the complicated legal language in your policy. It can be a challenge for anyone to understand the terms and language used in their insurance policy, especially homeowners who do not speak English as their first language.
#3 You have a complex claim or one that involves a third party.
Some insurance claims involve liability claims. When those cases involve neighbours, they can become complicated, stressful, and emotional.
Third-party liability becomes an issue when one neighbour causes (purposefully or inadvertently) damage to your property or vice versa. It could be the result of deliberate damage, such as cutting down a hedge on the neighbour’s property, or negligence, such as causing a fire that spreads from one property to another.
Third-party liability can involve an insurance claim, a lawsuit, or sometimes both. An insurance lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the situation.
#4 Your insurance company has denied your claim or the offer is not enough.
For large and complicated claims, it is often better to hire someone early on in the claim for help. However, that is not the only time that you can bring on assistance. If you receive an offer from the insurance company that you are not satisfied with, you can also hire an insurance lawyer or public adjuster for fire damage to negotiate at that point.
They will review your policy and your claim, and if you have a case for getting a fairer settlement, they will help negotiate a better deal with the insurer.