What to Do if Fire Damage Claim is Denied

fire damage claims lawyer in los angeles

Fires cause severe property and financial losses to businesses, which is why you need fire insurance. However, fire damage claims can get complicated and frustrating. Insurance companies can lower your compensation or reject your claim completely, leaving you with out-of-pocket expenses.

There are various reasons insurance companies deny your claim. Below are some of the most common:

  • Questionable claims or false statements
  • Insufficient documentation of the damage
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Missed premium payments
  • Exclusion clauses in your policy

Regardless of the reason, you have the right to re-appeal and demand a second look into your claim. An experienced property damage insurance attorney can help you build a stronger case and assist you through the appeal process.

Here’s a 3-step guide to filing an appeal for a denied fire damage claim.

  1. Review the denial letter

Your insurance provider will send a letter explaining why they rejected your claim. Compare the reasons they listed with the inclusions of your policy. This can be difficult due to the jargon used in the contract, which is why you need the help of an insurance lawyer.

Check if your policy coverage is enough to cover the loss. If it isn’t, there’s no reason for you to file an appeal.

If you confirm that the insurer’s dismissal of your claim is unreasonable, contact your agent or an insurance adjuster to raise your concern. Document every conversation you have with your insurance company, including the date, time, name of the person you spoke with, and what was agreed upon. 

  1. Strengthen your case

The burden proof is on you, so you have to have a strong, solid case to prove your loss from the fire. You can hire a public adjuster to help you explain the loss in detail and identify the clause in your policy clearly stating that the damage should be covered. Include the following details to strengthen your case:

  • Documentation and proof of the damage (e.g., photos)
  • Detailed evidence of the loss (e.g., financial statements)
  • Efforts to have your case reviewed (e.g., communication log with the insurer)
  • Rebuttal to the insurance company’s denial (e.g., policy information showing the loss should be covered)

If your claim remains unnoticed, climb the command ladder. Try to arrange a meeting or conversation with the insurer’s supervisor, manager, all the way to the director. The process may be laborious and time-consuming, but it will be worth it when you finally receive the compensation, especially if the fire damage was large-scale. 

  1. File a complaint

Your last resort is filing a complaint against the insurance company. This will automatically trigger a review of your denied claim. The insurance commissioner will handle your case and will evaluate your complaint and actions taken to get a second look into your claim.

If you do file a complaint, your insurance company might demand you to attend an Examination Under Oath. This legal process requires the legal counsel and representation of an insurance lawyer.

Aggressive Insurance Attorney in Los Angeles

Haffner Lawyers has a team of experienced insurance attorneys who will assist you throughout the process of your appeal. We take an aggressive approach in all our cases, making sure you have a strong case to support your claim. Our lawyers work to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve, enough to help your business recover from the fire.

For a consultation with a property damage insurance lawyer in Los Angeles, give us a call at 213-514-5681.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

A Look Into California’s Wildfire Insurance Denial Problem

Wildfire Damage Lawyer Los Angeles

About 26 million residents in the states of California and Arizona are under red flag warnings because of the recent wildfires in the area, according to CNN’s most recent coverage of these events. These fires have scorched acres of natural, residential, and commercial land and continue to threaten thousands of California homes as they spread.

While these blazes pose severe threats to human life and properties, some insurance companies may be backing off their services for residents in the state. Know all about these fires and why insurance claims for them are being denied.

State of the Wildfires

As of late November, there have been 6,402 wildfires in California for 2019. Here are the most significant ones in the year.

  • The Kincade Fire – This was the state’s largest wildfire in 2019, with over 77,758 acres of land razed in Sonoma County, and destroyed or damaged more than 120 structures. It started in late October and was declared 100% contained in early November.
  • The Maria Fire – This started in late October and burned 9,999 acres of land. The Ventura County Fire Department contained it on November 7th.
  • The Tick Fire – The Tick Fire charred 4,615 acres of land in the Santa Clarita area and raged from October 24th to 31st. One of the properties it completely destroyed was a family farm. The owners were only able to save 20 animals from their burnt-down property.
  • The Cave Fire – This brush fire in Santa Barbara County has threatened several residential communities, prompting evacuations. It has been mostly contained by rain and the efforts of the fire crews. At the time of this posting, it is still ongoing, and has already damaged 4367 acres.
  • The Getty Fire – This started in late October and took eight houses in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Fire Department fully contained the blaze on November 5th, after it burned 745 acres of land.

Denied Claims

Despite eight wildfires ravaging the state this year, causing an estimated $80 billion worth of damage, a lot of Californians are still having their insurance claims denied. A report by CBS News found that insurance companies refuse to protect over 350,000 property owners in the state.

And the 33,000 people who were successfully insured before were barred from having their contracts renewed.  Insurers don’t want to provide coverage because they deemed the properties as too much of a fire risk.

These conditions are unacceptable, especially if you’ve lost thousands of dollars in property, or worse, your loved ones in a wildfire. This is why it’s crucial to hire a law firm that handles wrongful death and bad faith insurance claims. Companies that may have unwittingly started some of the fires with their equipment ,and insurers who deny claims or protection from wildfires must be held accountable.

Conclusion: The Way Forward

Wildfires are often unavoidable natural occurrences. As such, people who live in wildfire-prone areas must have their properties insured. Those who were denied coverage are now getting the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan to protect their valuable homes. FAIR was explicitly created for individuals who are denied insurance because they live in high-risk areas. While this plan is only seen as a last resort, it gives owners peace of mind knowing that they’ll receive compensation for the items and properties they may lose in the event of another fire.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

If you’re one of the residents or business owners whose wildfire insurance claims were denied, speak with an experienced lawyer immediately. Haffner Law provides representation for those who were injured, lost their loved one, or had their property destroyed because of other people’s negligence. We offer our legal services in Los Angeles and neighboring cities.

Contact us at 1-844-HAFFNER or 213-514-5681 today for a free, no-obligation case review from an experienced lawyer.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)