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How to Make a Fire Insurance Claim

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Your homeowners’ insurance policy is where you start with any claim for fire damage.  Here’s a short checklist for how to complete that process.

Ask for an Advance

You probably didn’t carefully pack a back of your daily necessities while your house was burning down.  So, you’ll need money to replace those immediate needs sooner rather than later.  Contact your insurance company and ask for an advance against your ultimate coverage payment.  Just be careful to buy only what you need since the insurance company will deduct it from your final settlement.

Make an Inventory of Your Losses

Make a list of everything that was damaged or destroyed in the fire.  This process will require information from everyone who lives in your house and should be as complete as possible when making your claim.

Don’t Throw Anything Away & Get Estimates for Repairs.

Don’t throw damaged items away. They are proof of your losses.  Get reasonable estimates for any significant repairs that have to be made.

File as Soon as Possible

If you act right away, which your policy probably requires, the process gets started and will be completed as soon as possible.  You’ll submit a proof of loss claim listing everything you lost.  You want to be first in line, especially if there were others damaged in the same fire.

Keep Track of Your Post-Fire Expenses

Keep track of what you’re spending to live if the fire has made your home unliveable.  Those expenses are probably also covered in your policy.

Get Help from Claims Attorneys

If your insurance company isn’t as helpful as it might or is dragging its feet on your claim, consider contacting experienced claims counsel to help you get through the process with much less pain.  Insurance company lawyers and adjusters don’t work for you.

FAQs

1. How quickly does my insurance company have to respond?

It varies by policy and state, but generally, in Louisiana, insurance companies have to respond to all inquiries within 14 days.

2. Can my insurer cancel my policy for making a claim?

In Louisiana, if you’ve had your policy for three years, the insurer can only cancel for non-payment, fraud, or two or more non-Act of God claims in three years, a material change in the risk, or the company’s insolvency.

3. How long do I have to file a suit if my company doesn’t pay?

Louisiana requires that any such suit be filed within 24 months of the date of loss.

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