Fire Insurance Claim Lawyer Michigan
Do You Need Help with Your Fire Damage Insurance Claim?
Fires can be devastating to your home or business. Whether the fire caused minimal damage to a single room, compromised your inventory, or destroyed your property, you deserve full compensation for all losses covered by your insurance policy. Unfortunately, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. The importance of their bottom line often outweighs the needs of their policyholders. If your insurance company denies your claim, we recommend speaking with a fire insurance claim lawyer as soon as possible.
At Lipton Law, our insurance dispute attorneys have considerable experience litigating wrongfully denied fire insurance claims. You should also speak with an insurance dispute attorney if your insurance company has undervalued your claim. Lipton Law will help you fight for the compensation you are entitled to. Since 1964, our premises liability attorneys have given Michigan citizens the edge they need when going against stubborn insurers. To schedule a free consultation with a fire damage claim lawyer, please call our office at 248-557-1688 today.
Fire Damage Is Often Worse Than It Appears
If you can enter your home after a fire, the immediate visual assessment of the impact can be very disturbing. The secondary effects, such as soot, odor, smoke and water damage, and corrosion, are just as devastating, and often hidden from plain view. Without a careful assessment of your personal property, it can be difficult to determine what your fire damage claim is worth.
In these situations, working with an attorney and an experienced team of professionals is always a good idea. Because of our experience handling fire and smoke damage claims, we know how to spot invisible damage done by fires. With our help, we will help you determine the full value of your fire damage insurance claim.
Insurance companies will almost always try to settle for less than you deserve. In addition, their compensation package may not account for the hidden fire damage you’ll need to address in the future. Insurance companies exist to make a profit, so they will deny or undervalue legitimate claims just to save money. We’re here to ensure you get the legal recourse and compensation you deserve.
What Is Fire Insurance?
Fire insurance is a type of property insurance. It covers losses and damage caused by fires. While many homeowners’ insurance policies cover fire and smoke damage, policyholders can pay for additional fire coverage. This is a popular option in areas prone to wildfires.
Fire insurance aims to replace, repair, or rebuild property in the event of a fire. You can file a fire insurance claim when fire and smoke damage or destroy your personal property. Your property and fire insurance company will cover your losses up to the amount listed in your policy.
What Does Fire Insurance Cover on a Home?
In general, your property insurance company will cover losses that result from fire damage caused by candles, grease, electrical malfunctions, natural disasters, lightning, and more. However, they will not cover any damage that is caused deliberately. If your homeowners’ insurance policy does not include fire insurance, your insurance company will not cover fire-related losses unless you purchase a fire insurance policy.
Your insurance coverage includes both the exterior and interior of the home, as well as the personal property inside. It also includes any other assets on your property, such as vehicles in a garage or motor coaches parked nearby. Some very specific causes that insurance companies do not cover include war and nuclear events.
What Causes House Fires?
House and residential fires can start from several causes, many of which are unexpected and unpredictable. The most common residential fire causes include the following.
- Cooking fires
- Heating equipment (space heaters, furnaces, and fireplaces)
- Electrical wiring and equipment (faulty wiring, fuses, and outlets)
- Candle fires
- Smoking fires
Cooking is by far the most common cause of house fires in the United States. In fact, cooking is the cause of nearly half of all house fires each year. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of house fires. Although heating and cooking are the most common in terms of starting fires, smoking is the leading cause of house fire fatalities.
Regardless of how the fire started, your insurance company must pay your valid insurance claim. You already pay costly insurance premiums, so it’s their turn to pay your fire claim.
Who Is Liable for Fire Damage?
In an accidental fire, certain parties may be liable for covering damages and injuries caused by those fires. Generally speaking, if you have an insurance policy that covers fires, your insurance company will be responsible for the costs up to your coverage limit. To have an insurance company pay for your losses, you must have fire damage coverage in your insurance policy.
If the house is damaged by fire in an act of arson or vandalism by another person, you can file a fire damage insurance claim for the damages. You may also be able to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party to seek compensation for the damages.
If a defective product damages the house, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer. By working with a product liability lawyer in Michigan, you can recover compensation for damage to your home or personal belongings, as well as injuries.
Michigan Fire Insurance Claim Process
Sometimes, different states have different fire claims processes. In Michigan, the claims process involves certain actions the policyholder must take after a fire. These responsibilities include the following.
- Inform your insurance company or agent of the fire in a timely manner. They will want to know about the incident as soon as possible if you intend to file a claim.
- Property owners must also try to minimize further damage to the home as reasonably possible. Some examples include covering damaged property, replacing broken locks, and informing law enforcement of any thefts that occur.
- You must also work with your insurance company as your policy dictates. If insurance companies ask for certain information, homeowners must provide reasonable information to prove they have valid claims.
- Lastly, you must provide the insurance company with a list of structural damage and personal property damage. The list should include information such as the affected property, a description of each lost or damaged item, the actual cash value of the items, and the total amount of your losses.
When your insurance company receives your claim, they must respond within 30 days to ask for the information they need to process the claim. They must also pay your claim within 60 days of receiving your proof of loss. If they fail to pay your claim within the time limit, it becomes overdue. Overdue claims accrue interest at a 12% rate, meaning they will owe you more than originally.
Can I Claim for Smoke Damage?
Yes. Most basic homeowners policies include coverage for both smoke and fire damage. What’s more, is that the smoke doesn’t even need to come from a fire at your home. If your neighbor’s home catches fire, you can file a claim for smoke damage that occurs in the process. You can also file a claim for any damage to your home due to wildfires.
Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Fire Claims
While there are many legitimate reasons an insurer may deny a claim, some insurance companies have denied claims just to save money. Not only is this grounds for a lawsuit, but it also harms filers. If an insurance company denies your claim just to avoid paying it, you have the right to file a civil suit.
Other reasons why a company may deny fire damage claims include the following.
- Failing to pay insurance premiums
- Filing your claim too late
- Not having enough documentation or evidence of the claim
- Falling under an exclusion clause in your policy
- Failing to mitigate your damage following the loss
- Making questionable or false claims.
How to Deal with the Insurance Adjuster After a House Fire
It is possible to work with a public adjuster in assessing the damage, but your insurer will likely appoint an adjuster who will have their best interests in mind – not yours. Working with an attorney during this time is invaluable. We know what it takes to ensure your claim is properly valued and paid out according to your policy limits. When dealing with the insurance adjuster, we recommend the following tips.
- Meet with the adjuster in person and be on time for the meeting. Be honest with the adjuster, but don’t admit fault or apologize for the accident. They may use these comments against you.
- Explain how you have mitigated the damage to your home.
- Point out damages that aren’t so obvious. You know your home better than anyone, and you know what it looked like before the fire. The adjuster doesn’t, so you should point out any damages they miss.
- While it is an emotional experience, stay calm and polite throughout the process. Ask questions about what the insurance company needs from you and what you can expect moving forward.
How Long Does It Take for Insurance to Pay Out After a Fire?
According to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, your insurer must pay your claim within 60 days of receiving proof of loss. Failure to do this will result in the claim being overdue. Overdue claims accrue significant interest, so it is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay your claim promptly.
Should I Get a Lawyer After a House Fire?
While you are not required to work with an attorney after a fire, these claims have the potential to be incredibly complex. You’ll also be up against a profit-motivated insurance company with teams of lawyers on their side. Without a qualified Michigan personal injury lawyer, the insurance company will try to exploit you. Our law firm will ensure you receive a fair settlement and your voice is heard throughout the process.
Was Your House Fire Insurance Claim Denied?
If your insurance company denied your claim or gave you an insultingly low offer, the Lipton Law Firm is here for you. Our team’s experienced Michigan insurance claims lawyer will fight for your right to just compensation and hold your insurance company accountable. To schedule a free consultation with us about your fire and smoke damage claim, please call our Southfield office at 248-557-1688 today.