Attorneys for Denied, Delayed & Underpaid Wildfire Claims
There is no "one size fits all" claim for wildfire damage because there are many types of damage that your property can suffer. If you own a home and are faithful to make payments for homeowners insurance, you still might not be completely protected in the event of a wildfire, even if all of your property was lost. In the event that only parts of your assets were harmed in the wildfire, you can file a claim of partial loss.
Homes aren't the only things to be destroyed in wildfires. If your business suffered damages or complete loss, then you can file claims such as business destruction or interruption. These may even pay for lost profits. In the event that there is a large influx of claims at one time, such as was the case with the 2011 Texas wildfires, insurance companies may try to change the rules and limit the amount of claims money they give out to their policy holders.
This constitutes insurance bad faith. If it happens to you, you can seek help from an attorney.
Your home may have suffered extensive smoke damage. Humidity within homes can also significantly increase after smoke dissipates. Whatever damage was done to your home, if you own a policy that covers wildfire damage but you are not getting coverage, then come speak with the wildfire insurance claim attorneys at our law firm.
2017 Napa Valley Wildfires
In October 2017, California faced its deadliest week of wildfires in state history. Over 40 people were killed, and 8,400 families and business owners lost their properties to the blaze. This tragedy caused approximately $3 billion in damages, a staggering amount for such a small time-frame. As time settled and investigations began, PG&E quickly became the number one suspect in why these blazes initially erupted, and as to why they had gone on for so long. Evidence suggests that PG&E failed to keep their electrical equipment up to date and well maintained.
If you are a Napa resident who suffered due to the California wildfires, Arnold & Itkin is here for you.
Our Napa and Sonoma fire insurance attorneys are ready to hear about your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve from your insurers. At our firm, we have earned a reputation nationwide for our results and are proud to have helped clients from coast to coast with complex insurance cases. In fact, we have taken on cases originating in every state in America. You want peace of mind. You want professionals. You want Arnold & Itkin.
2010-2011 Texas Wildfire Season
2010-2011 was the timeframe for a fire season that Texas will never forget. According to reports from the Texas Forest Service, there were more than 28,000 fires in Texas alone during that time. These wildfires burned hundreds of homes and left four million acres burned. The areas most heavily hit were Bastrop County, Cedar Park, Steiner Ranch, and other communities throughout Central Texas. Firemen came from many other states in order to help combat these fires, for a long time to no avail. Texas has never before seen a wildfire season this catastrophic.
Although these wildfires have since ceased, many properties still suffer the damage. Wildfires are bound to happen in the state again, but all hope they will not be as severe as the 2011 Texas wildfires. Many homes were completely destroyed because of the fires but many others suffered partial damage. Some insurance companies wrongfully deny claims because they say that the damage was not significant enough. If you are a policyholder and you have made your payments, your insurance company is obligated to compensate you for damages.
Learn more about fire, smoke, and explosion damage from the Texas Department of Insurance.
What Are Specific Insurance Claims for Homeowners?
- Fire: If your home is destroyed in a fire or hit by lighting, the claim should be filed under fire loss.
- Explosion: If your home is blown apart by a fire, the claim should be filed under explosion loss.
- Smoke: If your home receives smoke damage, the claim should be filed under smoke loss.
What Are Specific Insurance Claims for Commercial Property Owners?
- Damage Received to the Property - If the property receives damage by a fire-related incident, this should result in a property damage claim.
- Cessation of Operations Claim - If the business cannot run properly, the owner may file for suspended operations. This should cover the anticipated missed income.
- Suspension of Business Activity - If the business has typical operating expenses no longer accomplishable due to fire, this operating expense may be covered in a claim.
- Extra Expenses - If a business faces extra expenses, the owner may be entitled to receive a claim amount. Some of these extra expenses may be moving operations to a new location, ordering products from a different location, and paying extra workers to keep operations open.
When Should I File My Claim?
There are a number of factors that change the provided insurance claim date.
Some of these factors include:
- The date the fire affected the property
- The time that it will take to rebuild the property
- An insurance companies policy on claim dates
- Your specific policy’s claim date
Your Insurance Claim Checklist: Ensure You Are Prepared
- Hire Professional Legal Help
To complete your claim, it is imperative that you hire proper legal counsel. Insurance claim lawyers will help you create your claim with accurate information that demands correct compensation. Contact Arnold & Itkin to talk to the lawyers that you need!
- Gather or Recreate Important Documents
Legal documents that are required for your claim may have been lost to the fires. If this is the case, you must track down duplicates of these files so that you can make your claim. If you cannot find these documents, you may not be able to file on your own.
- Document Cause of Property Damage
If your insurance claim is going to be paid out, you must document how your property received the damage. This can be done through photo or video, but must show evidence of the cause of damage. If your house exploded after catching on fire, document the source of the explosion. If your house suffered smoke damage, document that damage so your claim can be substantiated. Whatever you are recording, make sure it shows the damage clearly and can be used as evidence for your claim.
- Identify Areas of Recovery
If you're a homeowner, you must show the damage to your property and in-home items if you want to claim both. Proving property damage is only part of the battle. If you are a commercial business owner, it is your responsibility to prove your areas of recovery to your insurer. This means you must show evidence of the potential losses caused by stopping operations, as well as extra expenses incurred due to the fire. If you must hire a clean-up crew, document it. If you must move your operation to another building, document that. If you have any extra expenses due to the fire that stopped your initial operation, you must document it!
- Acknowledge Your Coverage Deadline
Every insurance claim has a coverage period. This coverage period is the timeframe in which a property owner must file their claim to receive compensation. Look at it this way: the initial incident of your property receiving damage is “Day 0.” Every day after is one step closer to your coverage period deadline. If you do not file before this deadline, or if you do not request a deadline extension, you will forfeit your right to claim the damage. Therefore, you should know your deadline so you can plan your claim accordingly!
Call Our Texas Fire Insurance Lawyers at (888) 493-1629
At Arnold & Itkin, we are passionate about fighting for your rights. We understand the amount of frustration and anguish you are likely facing after a fire has damaged your property.
The recent Texas wildfires are an excellent example of what insurance companies should not do. Many companies stalled their payment to their policyholders after wildfire insurance claims, forcing them to pay for some of the fire and smoke damages out of pocket.
If this happened to you, then you can get help. If you are facing property damage because of a fire, you want to get it fixed so you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Our Texas insurance claim law firm can help you fight for the financial support that you need and deserve. Call today!
Call (888) 493-1629 to schedule a free case review with a Houston fire insurance attorney from our Texas law firm.