When fire gets a hold of something, there is nothing that an ordinary citizen can do to stop it. After the damage has been done, people turn to their insurance companies for help rebuilding their lives. All too often, the insurance company simply turns its back and denies fire damage claims. At Fulmer Sill, we are here to see that insurance companies fulfill their promises to their customers. Over the past couple of years, wildfires throughout our country have claimed the homes and businesses of thousands of people. As the imminent danger of the flames subside and are extinguished, many residents and business owners are left dealing with the bi product of the devastating fires—namely residual smoke, ash and soot. This lingering effect may not appear as dangerous as a wall of flames, however, in the long-term, it very well may be more dangerous. Smoke and ash damage is virtually impossible to detect unless you know how to look and where to look. In addition, smoke, soot and ash damage is more difficult for the average homeowner to prove, if they even know it exists. Most damage is not visible to the naked eye and thus insurance companies pretend it doesn’t exist.
WILDFIRE INSURANCE CLAIM SCENARIOS
Without doubt, the majority of property damage from a wildfire is caused by residual smoke, soot and ash, not the actual burning of structures. Regardless if your home or business suffered no actual fire damage the smoke, soot or ash can still result in compensable property damage.
- HOME/BUSINESS HAS BEEN COMPLETELY DESTROYED: In this situation, a total loss fire insurance claim would be necessary. Keep in mind, this isn’t like totaling a car on an auto insurance policy; In Texas, you will only be paid the amount it would cost to replace the property, regardless of how much insurance you carried.
- HOME/BUSINESS WAS PARTIALLY BURNED OR DESTROYED: If you find your property in this state, you will need to demonstrate to the insurer why those damaged areas need to be rebuilt instead of patched or repaired. They will of course try to pay you the lowest amount possible to make these reparations which is why you need legal representation.
- HOME/BUSINESS INTERIOR HAS BEEN DAMAGED BY SMOKE: This type of scenario will result in a very difficult claim. The insurer will typically send out a vendor to “clean” the property but this will not help replace the items that have been completely ruined. Convincing the insurance company to pay to replace such items will be very difficult.