Table of Contents
Most of us have heard of fire damage, but for many, it doesn’t ring a bell when it comes to smoke damage.
Smoke damage harms fabric, carpets, curtains, and other porous materials leading to thousands of dollars of losses if you have a fire accident leading to smoke damage.
Usually, homeowners buy homeowners insurance, which covers fire damages, but some insurance companies offer a homeowners insurance policy incorporating smoke damage.
Insurance companies like to minimize claim amounts, and you may find that some insurance policies have considerable ambiguity in them to help reduce insurance claims.
It is important to go over your insurance policy before you sign any contractual damage. You should have fire insurance that ensures smoke insurance coverage. When a fire breaks out at a home, the policyholder gets compensation for any damages to their property due to the fire. However, small or partial fires can also lead to smoke damage.
Smoke damage affects all porous materials in the home, requiring expensive treatment to repair and restore to original condition.
However, not all items or personal belongings are repairable and would need replacements. Besides these costs, smoke damage also impacts an individual’s health. Being around items with smoke damage is hazardous to health, and you may consider filing ash claims for the ash damage.
An insurance company that covers soot damage is liable to pay for cleaning smoke and ash since it is part of the insurance coverage. However, you may face disputes when it comes to replacing items or your belongings.
An insurance company will send a public adjuster over to gather more details about your smoke damage and assess the situation. Public adjusters will let you know the item needs repair, which should be fine. However, insurance adjusters are not really “public” but work in the interest of the financial firm.
In such situations, you may end up at a professional cleaner who advises you on replacing the item, as the cleaning won’t do you any good. Sometimes they may even clean the thing for you, but it may still have an odor. If this is the case, you can get money for cleaning and also cash for replacing the item from your insurance company by filing claims.
Where you’ve had smoke damage and are looking to get an insurance claim for your loss, you must keep in mind the following tips to help move the claims process faster.
It is best to call your insurance company or an insurance agent immediately after a fire and let them know about the situation. Waiting can delay the claims process, and you don’t want to give the insurance company any reason to decline your claim.
After contacting the insurance company, take photos and videos of the damage done. Ensure your that your structures are strong, as they can weaken after a fire breaks out. This can hurt you or anyone who roams around the property.
Having a professional cleaning team visit your property and start to get details of personal belongings that they can repair is a great way to minimize your losses. A removal team will also give details on any items beyond repair, giving you a rough estimate of how much your smoke damage insurance claims should be.
You need to have sufficient information for the claim process to go smoothly. Insurance companies abuse this tactic by missing out on details or information that can delay the claims process. Note the date, location, type of damage, police reports, estimates, and other relevant information.
It would help if you understood that insurance companies would do everything possible to minimize your claims and increase their profits. However, by law, insurance companies must give a solid reason to deny your claims. Most of the time, the defense would be something of a minute nature that is easily contestable.
Working with Ehline Law, our expert attorneys will help you avoid any mistakes on your paperwork to move the claim process ahead. However, if the insurance denies your claim, we can get to the bottom of it and fix it for you. Usually, the initial claim denial is because of improper documentation or filing the claims form incorrectly.
If the insurance company denies your claim even after we fix the issues, we will file an appeal and start the negotiation process to ensure that you get compensation for your loss. During this process, it is best to get private adjusters to begin determining the value of loss which is a massive help during the negotiation phase.
Not only that, but Ehline Law has experience in taking matters to court, as insurance firms do not like going to court, and the pressure from this act can expedite your claim.
It is a devastating situation for the person who faces property damage due to a fire, as it can displace them and their family, leading to more problems down the road.
Our burn injury attorneys and their industry experience will help protect your rights and fight back against the denial of the claim by the insurer. We will help you build a solid defense against the insurance company and get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact us or schedule a visit at any of our 15 law offices across California if you or your loved one has lost personal belongings due to smoke or health issues. Contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation today! You can even reach out to us by sending, and an insurance law attorney in Los Angeles will get back to you.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.