How to File a California Fire Insurance Claim

Filing a file insurance claim is a detailed process that requires the homeowner or renter to evaluate all losses. Insurance claims adjusters also regularly look for details that could result in the company making a minimal offer to settle a claim, which is actually a practice that occurs whether the fire is an isolated incident or one of many claims being filed in a short time frame. Being prepared before contacting the insurance company is important, as many insurance providers record even the first phone call when they think it can be of assistance in settling a claim. All things considered, contacting an experienced fire insurance claim attorney even before filing is best.

Reread the Policy

The first step in filing a claim is reading the insurance policy and assessing the scope of protection. Many insurance policies have caps that can easily be exceeded, and other policies may have even more protection that could also be maximized in the right situation. “Replacement value” and “actual cash value” clauses will dictate the coverage amount, so wording is important. Understanding your policy before contact can help immensely when evaluating the possible negotiating position of the insurance company.

Take an Accurate Inventory

Each and every article in a home should be evaluated when both the structure and the contents are insured. This should also be done by renters who have insurance protection and lose their belongings in a fire because the insurance provider will perform the same process. Being accurate and reasonable in claim values is always best, and sometimes this will require some research to arrive at the right dollar value. Real estate values are typically set by the county in total loss situations.

Contact the Insurance Company

It is a good idea to be ahead of the curve before calling the insurance company because they could send an adjuster before a full damage assessment is understood. It is always a painful task, but this is essential for an equitable settlement amount in many cases. Let the company make their assessment as well, and always remember that there will probably be an official investigation into any fire report. This means that police and fire officials could want to ask some questions. Never extrapolate on what may have caused a fire, but always be ready in case your testimony is necessary to support your fire claim.

With the rash of wildfires in California, it is always best to contact a fire insurance claim attorney before directly contacting the carrier. In addition, scammers see fires as an opportunity to offer services they never intend to provide. When the claim level and fallout is hectic, having an experienced fire claim attorney is a real advantage. Nareg Kitsinian and his staff at the Kitsinian Law Firm have experience with this type of case, and are ready to help you make sure you are treated fairly by your insurance company.