Residents and tourists think of one thing when they hear Napa Valley: wine. Wine is an integral part of Wine Country’s heritage. People come from all over the world to taste Napa’s freshly pressed wine, but travelers may be less inclined to make the trip in light of the recent fires. Napa Valley has sustained massive damage to its infrastructure, and wineries and vineyards were not spared by the flames.
Preparing for Your Insurance Claim
The good news is that most businesses residing in Northern California are required to buy fire insurance. The bad news is that most insurance companies do everything they can to delay, deny, and underpay claims. At Arnold & Itkin, we are committed to helping people in the aftermath of catastrophic natural disasters, including helping them recover fair compensation so they can rebuild. We wrote this blog in the hopes of helping winery and vineyard owners prepare for the battle that will accompany their claim.
First, make sure you check these boxes in preparing your claim:
- Find and read your insurance policy to see what is covered.
- Figure out where your policy contains phrases that need definitions (phrases such as “crop” or “stock,” state of destruction, stipulations for covered damages, burden of proof, etc.).*
- Notify insurance companies before your business buys anything new.
- Gather documents that establish outgoing or incoming financial obligations and any documents needed to prove profit history.
* Some of these phrases may need legal help in identifying. If you need help identifying any of the definitions in your insurance claim, you can contact Arnold & Itkin for a free case evaluation.
Insurance companies should be notified of damages right way. In addition, any business decisions (such as buying new materials, building new structures, etc.) should be communicated to an insurance company before those decisions are made. If the insurance company is not answering your calls or emails, you should hire an insurance claim legal team immediately. Insurance companies will intentionally not respond to emails or phone calls so that business owners will stop trying to make their claim. If you are a business owner and this happens to you, you will most likely need to hire an insurance claim attorney to move forward with your recovery.
How to Make Your Claim as Healthy as Possible
- Contact your local insurance agent regularly.
- File your insurance claim as soon as you can.
- Document everything that will help your claim.
- Prevent your property from additional damages.
- Continue making monthly mortgage and insurance payments.
- Track additional living expenses that you incur from the fire.
- Refuse to settle early.
Thoroughly Read Statements on Issued Checks
Insurance companies can send checks to policy holders, but the fine print may say that a policy holder who accepts the check is waiving their right to additional compensation. If you are unclear about the stipulations for accepting a check from your insurance company, you should not cash the check until you receive clarity. You could end up waiving your right to full compensation by accepting an early check.
Call (888) 493-1629 to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If your attempts to communicate with your insurance company have been ignored, if you need help in filing your claim, or if you need help disputing your insurance claim amount, we encourage you to read our helpful FAQ page can help. If you need immediate assistance with your claim, call (888) 493-1629 for a free insurance claim case evaluation. We are here to help you however we can.