Fire Damage Claims
Fire can destroy everything in its path. From clothing and appliances to memories and the family home; all can be lost in a matter of seconds. Most insurance policies will pay to repair structural damage and damage to personal property, but some providers will take advantage of your vulnerability and deny a claim or offer a lowball settlement.
A denied claim or reduced settlement will only add stress to an already stressful situation. By going through the claims process with an attorney, you run a greater chance of a higher settlement. Speak with an insurance lawyer today to find out how they can help you recover from fire damage.
Texas Insurance Attorney
Do not settle for a reduced settlement. The lawyers at LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC are well versed in insurance negotiating tactics. Ms. Ahmed and Ms. LeMaster will negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive all that you are entitled to under your policy. Whether you are a business or individual, you can trust the lawyers at LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC will fight for you.
Call (888) 306-2119 to schedule a time to speak with us. One of our attorneys will review your case and help determine the best course of action. LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC represents clients in Harris County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, Dallas County and Collin County.
- Fire Damage Covered by a Homeowner’s Policy
- When Is Fire Damage Not Covered?
- Why Was my Fire Claim Denied?
- Additional Resources
Fire Damage Covered by a Homeowner’s Policy
The majority of homeowner insurance policies protect homes and their contents in the event of a fire. In fact, homeowner’s insurance typically pays out more for fire claims than any other loss type, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Every policy has a different deductible, but most cover the same type of fire damage.
Listed below is a brief explanation of the fire damage covered by homeowner’s insurance:
- The home: Your insurance coverage likely covers fire and smoke damage to your home and attached structures such as a patio or garage. Most repairs should be covered, minus any deductible.
- Personal property: A standard homeowner’s policy covers property damage caused by fire. This property can include furniture, appliances and clothing. High price items like jewelry or fine art are typically not protected by homeowner’s insurance. However, additional protection may be purchased for such belongings.
- Detached property: Your policy should also protect structures on your property that are not attached to the home such as sheds, fences and detached garages that suffered fire damage. Some homeowner policies may also cover destroyed landscaping.
- Loss of use: Loss of use coverage is typically provided for most home insurance plans. This type of coverage pays for living expenses if you have to move while your home is being repaired. Living expenses that may be covered include hotel bills, rent, food and other costs you would not have if you were living in your home.
When is Fire Damage Not Covered?
A home can easily catch fire from things such as unattended cooking equipment, faulty electrical equipment and candles. Homeowner’s insurance typically covers fire damage caused under these circumstances, but there are situations where fire damage is never covered by a policy.
Fire damage to a home is not covered if the home was considered vacant at the time of the fire. Vacancy is defined differently by each insurance provider, but generally, a home is considered vacant if it has been unoccupied for more than 30 straight days. That being said, you can still protect an empty home by purchasing additional coverage.
Fire damage caused by arson is never covered by home insurance if a homeowner set the fire. Arson is a criminal offense, as is arson for insurance fraud. Insurance companies are fully aware some homeowners will set their own home ablaze in an attempt to collect insurance money. Arson with the intent to commit insurance fraud is the main reason investigators are sent to the site following a fire. These individuals are tasked with assessing the damage and determining what caused the fire.
Why Was My Fire Claim Denied?
Insurance is a for-profit business, so it’s in the company’s best interest to avoid paying fire claims. However, an insurance company must have a justifiable reason for denying a claim. Having a claimed denied only adds additional stress to an already stressful situation. It is in your best interest to speak with an insurance lawyer if you believe your fire claim was unjustly denied. You may be able to file suit against the insurance company and seek damage to repair your home and attorney fees.
Texas homeowners are protected from unfair settlement practices by the state’s Insurance Code. This statute makes it illegal for an insurance company to take certain actions during a claim process. Listed below are examples of unfair settlement practices:
- Denying a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation
- Failing to explain why the claim was denied
- Failing to deny or confirm a settlement within a reasonable time
- Failing to provide a prompt, fair and equitable settlement
- Misrepresenting provisions of a policy relating to the claim
- Denying a claim based on:
- Marital status
- Geographical location
- Credit score
Keep in mind that some claims are justly denied. Common justifiable reasons for a denied fire claim can include failing to make premium payments, making false statements or not filing within a reasonable time.
Unfair Settlement Practices | Texas Insurance Code – Visit the Texas Constitution and Statutes website to read more about unfair settlement practices. By accessing the site, you can find a complete list of bad faith insurance practices in section 541.060. You can also gain access to other state insurance laws.
Homeowners Insurance Basics | Insurance Information Institute – Follow the link provided to learn more about homeowner’s insurance. By following the link, you can learn about the levels of coverage and find out if the policy provides liability protection. The Insurance Information Institute is an online resource for insurance information.
Insurance Lawyer in Texas
Many homeowners are not aware of their rights as a policyholder. Contact LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC immediately if you believe your insurance company is mistreating you. Ms. Ahmed and Ms. LeMaster are insurance lawyers with over thirty combined years of experience handling insurance disputes throughout Texas.
Call (888) 306-2119 to schedule a consultation. Some of the areas we serve include Houston, The Woodlands, Galveston, Plano and Dallas.