Almost everyone who has suffered damages to their property as a result of a fire insurance claim makes costly mistakes during and after the settlement. However, there is one very costly mistake that policyholders make time and time again without even knowing it. And, the winner is (or should we say loser); Most policyholders simply rely on their insurance company adjuster to inspect, evaluate, and estimate their entire insurance claim without checking up on them. This can be the most costly mistake anyone could ever make in their entire life.
It’s bad enough to have your property destroyed by fire, but relying on someone else to visit your property, inspect it, provide a proper value, and then trust that they got it all correct… Is Simply I N S A N E ! Yet, policyholders allow this to happen all across the country, day-in and day-out. For most people it’s human nature to count their “change” at the grocery store or diligently review their dinner bill to be sure the waiter didn’t charge them for items they did not order. We’ve all done it. We go out of our way to count and keep track of our chump change. Yet, when it comes to tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from a fire insurance claim, we rely on the insurance company without question.
No one knows your property like you do. There is much to do to properly prepare and configure a fire insurance claim that in most instances, items are forgotten or missed during the process. Especially if it’s done by someone at your insurance company. They don’t know about your building, your property, or your contents (furniture, clothing, etc.) like you do. How could they possibly be as accurate as you? Furthermore, just because an insurance company adjuster visits your property for an inspection does not mean they are a professional contractor, builder, or certified in fire and water damage restoration.
With the review of thousands of closed claims, we have found that in most cases, both insurance companies and policyholders unknowingly miss damages that are hidden from the naked eye. In almost all instances; it is a good idea to have a professional review your fire damage claim. Preferably a fire insurance claims appraiser, consultant, or fire consulting firm.
Policyholders often believe that when the insurance company sends them a check and they deposit the money in their bank account – the claim is closed. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is; that in most states a policyholder has 3-years to make a claim and even ADD to an existing claim. So, a review of your claim to see if you have been properly compensated can occur, during the claims process or even after the claim has been settled. You can also obtain more money from your claim – even if it has been torn down and demolished.
Yes, even if your claim has been settled and you have deposited the checks, or your building has been torn down and demolished, you can still obtain more insurance proceeds if the damages were not assessed properly. In many cases, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of more dollars. Even when a policyholder believes they have received a fair settlement… they usually have not.
However, it’s up to the policyholder to do their part to protect themselves. Here are a few tips to assist in the review of your fire insurance claim. There are tips if you are in the middle of your claim – as well as tips if your claim has closed some time ago.
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