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Fire claims: What you need to know about fire insurance for your home

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In this post we give some practical advice on how to resolve the consequences of House Fire claims through your insurance.

 

Financial chaos for many families

 

If you did not have insurance or if your property was poorly insured, you are now facing financial chaos. Credit lines with special conditions may be available, but the ideal is to have every risk insured correctly, so that we can rest assured that the insurance company will take care of everything.

 

Fire claims – the most complex to handle

 

Fire claims are the most complex claims there are, they have long settlement periods (the average is around two years) and if they are not handled well they can cause a lot of problems and headaches. Of course, if you don’t have the help of a professional insurance broker, my first piece of advice is: hire a good lawyer.

If your broker or agent is a professional, he or she will be knowledgeable about insurance law and will certainly help you handle your claim correctly, as he or she has the training and experience to deal with adjusters, companies and lawyers properly.

In these cases, it is always better to have an insurance broker than an exclusive agent, as the latter’s interests are aligned with the insurer and not necessarily with the client. On the other hand, they do not always have sufficient training or experience to deal with cases of this dimension. Many of them are dedicated only to sales and forget about the clients when there are claims. Forget about taking out your policy with the bank or online, because in the event of a claim they will not provide you with the right service.

 

There are a number of legal tools that your insurance broker can activate and put in place to defend your interests as a client:

  • the right to counter-appraisal
  • an external loss adjuster
  • the different deadlines for requesting an advance (or several) on account of the final indemnity
  • support your lawyer with the correct articles of law
  • requesting financial support in case of uninhabitability of the property
  • verify all the documentation you are being asked to provide and advise you on what you should or should not provide

The documentation requested by the adjusters

 

One of the most important roles that your broker will have is the review of the documentation that the adjusters from

the insurance companies will ask you for. Especially if your insurance broker works together with your lawyer, they will defend your interests by knowing exactly which documentation you should sign and provide or which may constitute a reduction of your rights.

 

Practical advice for those who have suffered fire losses

 

  1. If you have a professional insurance broker who has a thorough knowledge of insurance law, he will inform you about your rights and the steps to take.
  2. But if you have your policy with an unprofessional agent, such as a bank or online, don’t wait another day, hire a lawyer now and change your broker.
  3. If your burnt house is declared a total loss due to a fire with high reconstruction sums, hire a lawyer to handle the negotiation with the insurer.
  4. Most home insurance policies have a capital earmarked for uninhabitability, i.e. if you cannot stay in your home, the insurance will pay for a hotel or rented flat while your home is being rebuilt (check the limits in your general conditions).
  5. Ask for an advance on account of the final compensation. The law defines that, 40 days after declaring the claim, you are entitled to a minimum sum, but you should negotiate a more robust amount, without this prejudicing the right to the total sum.
  6. Think about activating the right to counter-assessment, it is important to have your rights safeguarded and be careful with the response times.
  7. In case you do not wish to rebuild the property, you have the right to negotiate with the insurer a compensation at the real value of the house (usually much lower than the compensation value in case of reconstruction) but at least you know that you have this right.

 

For those who have not suffered losses, but want to live with peace of mind:

 

  1. This is the time to rescue your home insurance policy, sit down with an insurance broker and review the capital sums and coverages. It is true that many policies have an automatic revaluation of capital, but if the policy is poorly designed from the beginning (the insured capital is low), in the event of a claim the person may find themselves underinsured. This means that, because you have insured the property with lower values than the actual value, you will receive an indemnity reduced by the percentage of the underinsurance you have determined.
  2. Every year, take a photo session of the exterior of your house and the interior, so that in situations of this type it is easier to check the existence of the different elements of the contents and the construction qualities of the house, gardens, swimming pools and annexes if you have them. Save the photos in a Cloud. If you buy valuables, save the invoices in a Cloud.

Now, it is time to reflect and advise you on the best way to be prepared and well insured in case something similar happens again.

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