Fire Insurance Claim FAQs

How long will the fire insurance claim process last?

If you’re attempting to handle your claim without professional claim help from a public adjuster then common mistakes will likely result in a delayed settlement. Barring mistakes or unforeseen variables, 90 days of the date of loss is a reasonable time for a fire insurance claim to settle.

I filed a claim for fire and smoke damage and the claim adjuster from the insurance company directed a restoration company to remove my personal property. How much say-so do I have about how my property is restored, replaced or cleaned?

It’s imperative you remain in control of your personal property until there is a proactive claim plan in place. Relinquishing your personal property to a restoration company without first knowing all of your rights and options could waste settlement dollars that could be better spent on replacing damaged items instead of cleaning them. Consult with an independent claim adjuster before allowing any company to start cleaning or restoring your property.

My insurance company has ruled my fire claim suspicious and the investigation is taking longer than I expected. Is this a normal?

If the cause or origin of fire damage is unknown then the insurance company will certainly take an investigative approach. This often results in claimants who feel like suspects rather than victims of a heartbreaking loss. The fire investigation conducted by the insurance company and/or government municipality can take weeks or months to complete. Until the investigation is complete the fire claim process will be at a halt and no settlements will be made. The insurance company will send you a document called a “Reservation of Rights” which will notify you of the pending investigation. It’s possible that a skilled and experienced fire damage adjuster- a public adjuster- will be able to negotiate a partial advanced settlement during the investigative process.

The insurance company is asking me to submit so many documents and even personal information that doesn’t seem related to my fire claim. Do I have to comply?

Your cooperation with the insurance company and it’s adjuster is essential during the claim process. If you feel like the requests are unreasonable or that the carrier is attempting to make the process purposely difficult then contact an experienced public adjuster for professional fire claim help.

When should a claimant seriously consider hiring professional fire insurance claim help?

If the claimant has received a Reservation of Rights or a request to participate in an Examination Under Oath then it’s necessary to at least consult with a trusted and experienced public adjuster. A thorough investigation into the cause and origin of the fire damage is necessary but a longer than necessary investigation can be used as a delay tactic. If your fire claim has been delayed due to an ongoing investigation then hiring professional help is necessary to progress the claim.

There is still a faint smell of smoke throughout my home even after the restoration. The claim adjuster from the insurance company said the smoke smell will go away with time. Do I have any recourse within the claim process?

Smoke damage can be invisible and is often times subjective. Getting a smoke damage expert would be essential in this case. Your insurance company has an obligation to restore your property to its pre-loss condition so there should not be any remnants of smoke or soot.

Smoke odors can infiltrate carpets, bedding, furnishings, clothing, and even the home’s insulation. Soot can clog air conditioners and damage surfaces. Both smoke and soot damages should be included in the fire claim and paid for through your insurance contract. Working with a trusted fire claim adjuster will ensure all visible and invisible damages are documented, substantiated and paid for by the insurance company.

How can I ensure a fair fire settlement for my fire claim?

Insurance companies often read their policies and document damages in their own favor. If you want the best chance at a fair fire claim settlement then get a second opinion about your insurance company’s calculation of the fire damage.

Am I required to participate in an Examination Under Oath?

Yes. If you refuse or otherwise neglect to participate in an Examination Under Oath then you risk your claim being denied for breach contract. Never participate in an Examination Under Oath or submit EUO documents without first consulting with a first-party insurance attorney or public adjuster. A skilled public insurance adjuster can often times negotiate a postponement for the EUO if extra time is needed to prepare the client and/or claim documents.

What are the benefits of hiring a fire damage adjuster or a public adjuster to help me though the claim process?

An experienced fire damage adjuster knows how to navigate the claim process. He or she is skilled in understanding and analyzing insurance policies, policy language, damage estimation and settlement negotiations. Hiring a public adjuster ensures the quickest claim process and the largest settlement possible with little hassle from your insurance company.

When can a private adjuster be hired to provide fire insurance claim help?

A private insurance adjuster can be hired during any stage of the claim process. Some claimants elect to hire professional claim help when there’s a delay in the claim process while others seek help after their fire claim has been denied or underpaid. Many public adjuster firms offer complimentary claim evaluations. If you have any questions about the accuracy of your settlement offer, or the claim process then contact a trusted and experienced claim adjuster.