Having your home and belongings lost to a fire can be devastating. It can be even more overwhelming when you encounter fire insurance claims problems while trying to piece your life back together. You may have paid your insurance premiums for years but suddenly your insurer is working hard to underpay and deny your claims. In these cases, it’s crucial to know your rights and when you have the right to fight back. In this blog article, we’ll go over some of the most common reasons insurance companies deny fire claims, and tips to avoid claims problems if you do end up having to file fire claims.
Reasons Insurance Companies Deny Fire Claims
- Misrepresentation: Many times, insurance companies deny fire claims because of something known as “misrepresentation”. This means that the insurance company is saying you misrepresented certain facts of your claim to your insurance company. For example, if your pet knocked over a candle that started a fire, you may have lied and said the candle tipped over on its own. It’s always advisable to be honest with your insurer when it comes to major fire damage. Your insurer will investigate the incident and could accuse you of misrepresentation if you lie about any part of your claim.
- Suspected Fraud or Arson: Your insurer will not cover you for any deliberate acts. If there is suspected fraud or arson because you want an insurance payout, your insurance provider will deny your claim. This is also the case if you ask or pay someone else to burn down your home. However, your insurer will need to provide proof of the suspected arson. If you believe your insurer is denying you rightful compensation, be sure to ask them to supply evidence of suspected arson.
- You Didn’t Take Preventative Measures: Your insurance company will expect you to mitigate a fire to your home as long as it is safe and reasonable to do so. For example, if you accidentally started a fire in your house and did not use a fire extinguisher or call the fire department, your claim could be denied.
- Didn’t Pay Your Premiums: Another common reason for an insurer not paying on a fire claim is that you didn’t pay your premiums. If you have missed paying your premiums or if you didn’t pay your latest premiums on time, your insurer could deny your damage claim.
- Natural Weathering: Over time, your house may naturally develop maintenance issues and experience wear and tear. If you file a fire damage insurance claim, your insurer does not have to cover the cost of replacing any damage caused by natural weathering or maintenance issues. The other option your insurer may do is to reduce your claim because of previous damage not caused by the fire.
Tips to Avoid Claim Denial
If your insurer is reducing or denying your fire claim, you do not have to sit back and accept it. You can appeal and negotiate with your insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Below are some steps you can take if your insurer denies your damage claim:
- Hire a Public Adjuster – A public adjuster is someone who is a licensed insurance professional who will represent your best interests. A public adjuster can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf and will manage your claim from start to finish.
- Ask for Written Justification – Your insurance company must provide you with written justification for claim denial. Most will provide you with copies of any documents but double-check and make sure you receive this paperwork.
- Review Your Policy- The best thing you can do is to review your home insurance policy before any accident happens. You may be surprised at what your home insurance policy does and does not cover.
If you want to make sure you don’t have insufficient coverage when it comes to making a fire damage claim on your home, it’s best to make sure you have the right insurance policy in place before the incident happens. At Dunham Insurance Services, our agency’s driving mission is to reduce your overall insurance costs by providing the very best business, home, auto/marine, commercial, and personal umbrella policies. Get in touch today to learn more!