Fire & Wildfire Insurance Claims
Fires are one of the most common and devastating events that can turn a property owner’s world up side down. Fire not only consumes just about anything in it’s path, it usually leaves very little traces of anything that existed before the fire occurred.
One of the toughest jobs an adjuster faces is reconstructing a structure on paper when there is nothing to inspect. There are limited ways to accomplish this task that include review of photographs, interview of the property owner and use of experience along with some reasonable judgement. Fire claims usually involve an inquisition by the insurer as to whether arson was involved and if so by who.
An interesting point to note is that even if arson is involved the claim is usually covered as long as the arsonist was not the insured. When a fire occurs the first step an insured should take is to document everything and anything that is left in identifiable condition. This includes photographing those items and any portion of the structure that will give clues as to the quality and quantity of those items. The next step an insured should take is to segregate salvageable items and to protect those items from further damage. This can be a judgement call, but if you are in doubt attempt to salvage the items until at least the insurer inspects those items. Finally, if your structure is repairable take steps to close up the structure so that inclement weather does not continue to further degrade the structure.
There are circumstances where mitigating further damage is simply not possible and in those cases you will have to be prepared to defend your inability to mitigate damage. Continued damage under this circumstance is often caused by local authorities prohibiting access to the property or other conditions which make it impossible to access the property such as roads that are impassable. With careful steps taken from the very beginning of a fire claim you will have a better than average chance of achieving a satisfactory claim outcome.