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Filing an Insurance Claim After the Napa Fire: How Hard Is It?

If your property has been damaged by the wildfires in California, it is imperative that you understand the insurance claims process to its fullest extent before filing. You must comprehend that you will not receive all that you are due by sending your insurance company a couple of pictures of the damage with an estimated cost of repair. Insurance claims are necessarily nitpicky about paying claims because they do not want to get cheated by paying more than they have to those who do not need it. In truth, the ugly underbelly of the insurance process is that they would rather not pay you at all. If you read any article about insurance payouts, the noun that they use to describe the payments they make to customers is “losses.” Do not buy into the idea that insurance companies are ready and willing to give you what you are due. For this reason, when filing a claim it is important that you understand all that you need to do to get what is rightfully yours.

Types of Damage That a Property Can Report

When a homeowner loses their property in a fire, their claim may seem cut and dry. To the typical homeowner, they are ready to report a “fire damage claim” for all of their valuables, but this may not be enough. Without establishing the direct cause of the damage that your house sustained, your claim will end up resulting in rejection.

Here are some examples of damage that a home can receive indirectly from a wildfire:

  • Smoke Damage:
    If your house caught on fire, but for some reason only a part of the home was burned, the other part of your home could still have been damaged by smoke. If a homeowner sends pictures to an insurance company claiming that their house received fire damage only, they will only receive money for the burnt portion of their home, not for the portion that was damaged by smoke.
  • Explosion Caused by Fire:
    If your property was blown-up in an explosion, you should not file for fire damage. The fire may have caused the explosion, but the main portion of the damage you received was due to an explosion. So if you only file for fire damage, the damage received from the explosion will most likely not be covered by your insurance claim.

Regardless of the main cause of damage that your home sustained, it is important that you seek professional help with your insurance claims. Our firm is waiting to hear your claim. We can assess the damage for you and make sure that you receive all that you deserve. Your insurance company wants to short your claim, we stop that from happening.

Reportable Damages for Commercial Businesses

For a business owner, reporting damages becomes exponentially more complicated. There are typical property damage claims that a business should report in the wake of a fire. However, as any business owner understands, a commercial business is worth much more than the property it sits on because a business' true worth is in its product.

These are just a few of the claims that a business can make in addition to property damage:

  • Cessation of Operations:
    If a business has been impacted by a fire, it may have had to stop operations entirely to fix the building. In this case, a business is entitled to file a cessation of operations claim. This claim is made to ensure that business owners can recover financial losses that result from a stop in operation. Most businesses cannot afford to lose even a week of compensation, and that is why this claim exists.
  • Net Income and/or Operating Expenses:
    Under the cessation of operations heading, a business can file a claim for either the income they would have made if the operation were open and/or the expenses that it would have taken to run the operation.
  • Extra Expense Coverage:
    This coverage is for business owners who are incurring extra operation costs due to a business interruption. For example, if a business has to rent out a warehouse to continue their operations, this should be covered under extra expense coverage.

These are just a few of the expenses that a business owner can claim under his or her insurance policy; however, there are other claimable expenses. A business owner must fully understand their policy if he or she is going to receive the full value of their claim. If you are a business owner who has lost operations costs and are unsure about how to report these losses, you need an experienced insurance claims lawyer to guide you through the process. If you choose to file on your own, know that you will be fighting against insurance lawyers who know their own policies inside and out. You need a professional on your side looking out for your best interests.

The Difficulty of Making Insurance Claims

Making an insurance claim on your own can be extremely difficult if you are a business or residential property owner.

This is an over-simplified list of all the things you need to do to make your claim effective:

  • Record damage done with enough video / photo evidence to prove causation
  • Estimate the price of all your items as they were valued when lost in the fire
  • Locate proof of home or business ownership and proof of insurance ownership
  • For commercial businesses: estimate expenses of operation cessation, extra expenditures caused by the fire, and any other business expenditures, while providing respectable proof that substantiate the estimates
  • Have this all done within the claim’s allotted time-frame

If you have the means to accomplish all of these tasks in a meticulous manner, then you might have a chance of receiving the total value of your losses. However, if you are missing any of these items, or if you are unsure about the diligence that was used in obtaining one of these items, you must call for professional insurance claim help immediately.

Contact us (888) 493-1629today for a free consultation. We fight so you don't have to!