Fire and smoke claims

Fires cause catastrophic damage to homes and businesses.  Even small fires produce smoke the spreads through building interiors and air ducts, causing damage throughout and leaving the lasting odor of smoke.  A fire that isn't put out soon enough can burn a building to the ground.  But even firefighters' best efforts to extinguish flames can cause damage as they cut their way into buildings and put out fires with massive amounts of water.

Almost every property insurance policy is designed to insure against the risk of a fire.  But that doesn't mean that insurance companies willingly pay for every fire that occurs.  And even when they do pay, it frequently isn't enough to restore the damaged property to the condition it was in before the fire occurred.

We see fire claims denied for a wide range of reasons.  Insurance companies will sometimes accuse their insureds of starting the fire intentionally.  Other denials are based on "protective safeguard" policy forms, which insurance companies use to deny claims if there was no fire alarm or smoke detector. Denial letters cite to vacancy provisions, insurance application answers, and concealment provisions.

Policyholders who have experienced fire losses go through the worst combination of loss to their property and invasive investigation by their insurance company.  Insurance companies will ask for financial records and a multitude of other documents.  They will demand sworn testimony in the form of an Examination Under Oath.  Some insureds are so worn down by the delay and intimidated by the investigation process that they give up their claims.

When someone calls us about a fire loss, we don't simply accept the insurance company's position.  You shouldn't either.  Insurance companies and the people they hire get things wrong--policy language, the way the law applies, and the facts of the claim.  If a claim hasn't been denied, we make sure the insurance company has good reason to pay it.  If the insurance company has already made a wrong decision about a claim, we fight that decision in court.

If you've had a fire insurance claim denied, underpaid or are dealing with aggressive claims investigation, please call us at 727-821-3195.  We don't charge anything for reviewing your claim with you.  If you decide you want to fight your insurance company, we will handle the case on a contingency fee, meaning that nothing will ever be owed for fees unless we win.


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