FIRE DAMAGE CLAIMS
What Are Fire Damage Claims?
Fire insurance covers any damage or loss to property caused by a fire. It is a specific form of insurance that covers the cost of replacing and repairing anything outside of what your property insurance policy covers.
Unfortunately, most people do not understand the details of their insurance policies. Your insurance policy is a legal and binding contract between you and your insurance company. It defines and sets forth the legal obligation of both parties. Many consumers and even attorneys do not understand all or some of the legal terms of the policy of insurance.
Insurance companies are always trying to cut corners on fire insurance claims in an attempt to save money. Losing your home to a fire is already devastating, and the last thing you need is your insurance company giving you a hard time with your claim.
Fires Occur At The Tune Of Millions Every Minute Everywhere Around The Globe!
Most individuals believe that their insurance company will be there to handle everything — not exactly! Unfortunately, help is often too little, too late. Insurance policies are complex, and policyholders often do not understand their policy’s benefits and obligations. The Insurance Industry has achieved billions of dollars in record profits by systematically denying and underpaying claims. Our job at Harris Claims Services, as your Public Claims Adjuster, is to level the playing field to protect your financial interest. We will assist you in understanding your rights and guide you through the claims handling process. Our pro insurance adjusters will document your fire loss, determine the value of your smoke and fire damages, and streamline your claim with your insurance carrier. From assessing property damage to handling a complex business interruption claim, our public adjusters have the knowledge and skills to help you recover the full amount that you are owed.
WHEN YOU HAVE A FIRE, GET OUT. CALL YOUR FIRE DEPARTMENT. THEN CALL HARRIS CLAIMS SERVICES.
What You Should Know BEFORE A Fire Claim
Dealing with your insurance company during a fire claim is a very frustrating process involving several calls, emails, letters, and documents. Make sure that you keep track of all communication, including copies of all documents and post office receipts of mailing. Be sure to take notes, including the date and time of every phone conversation and face to face meeting.
Keep original documents of everything that you’ve filed for your claim. If your insurance company wants proof of a document for any reason, then you can make them a copy and keep the original. Staying organized with your documents can help prepare you in case your insurance company begins arguing during the claims process. There are, however, precautions that you can take before a fire claim ever has to be filed.
Record everything that you have in your house; that way you won’t have to rely on memory in case of theft, fire or some other catastrophe. Walk through the house with a camera or a video camera and carefully scan each room inside and outside of your property. Take out and individually photograph valuables separately. Lastly, keep the photos, video, and inventory in a safe place outside of your house.
Keep Track Of Your Living Expenses
Your insurance policy includes a clause called “loss of use,” which means that the insurance company reimburses you the difference between your living expenses while displaced and your normal living expenses when you’re home.
What You Should Do AFTER A Fire Claim
Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
Insurance policies require policy owners to file their fire claim as soon as possible. Call your insurance agent immediately to get the process started. The insurance company will require you to submit a “proof of loss claim.” This is the form where you include all of the items you lost, including their value.
Include the following information in your claim:
- Date of loss
- Type of loss or damage
- Location of damage
- Any related injuries
- Others involved
- Condition of the home
- Description of damaged contents
- Whether or not temporary repairs are necessary
- A police report
Tips On How To Handle Things After A Fire Claim
Here are some tips to follow when dealing with your homeowners’ insurance company regarding fire insurance claims.
1) Make a list of everything that was lost or destroyed and do not throw anything away.
You will spend less time trying to prove that you lost the items on your list if you hold on to them for the adjuster to see.
2) Secure your property to mitigate damage.
Take proactive measures in preventing further damage if your home is not entirely damaged. This can help reduce the amount of accumulated damage and can include:
- Moving any property that is at risk of further damage
- Covering up holes in the walls and roof to protect from outside elements
- Preventing looters by boarding up or building a fence around the damaged areas
Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster
During the claim, your insurance company will need to get an estimate of the fair market value or cost of replacement of the damages from the fire. They will send out their company adjusters; however, these adjusters work for the insurance company and will make decisions in the insurance company’s best interest, not yours. Therefore, it could be best for you to hire your independent estimator, public adjuster and /or contractor.
Even if after hiring your independent contractor you are unable to reach an acceptable settlement, consider hiring a public claims adjuster. This is an independent person you pay to negotiate with the insurance company for you. Some people fear to do this because of the extra cost, but this can be worth it. Our adjusters at HCS can help get you significantly more than you would have otherwise received. We call it the Harris Advantage.
What Harris Claims Services Can Do For You – Get The Harris Advantage
No disaster comes with a warning! Whether you have suffered a small loss or a large one when disaster strikes, lives are interrupted, and routinely turns to chaos.
Our team of dedicated experts and public adjusters work ONLY for the policyholders and victims, NOT the insurance companies.
Our team of professionals ranges from public adjusters to accountants and attorneys — we have successfully recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in underpaid disaster claims all over Illinois. Our staff and public adjusters have specific knowledge in fire disasters and claims.
We also include a crucial service to fire damage victims; we offer emergency assistance to our customers and their families through Chicago Board-Up Services, our sister company. There, customers are provided with a full range of emergency services to assist and protect the most important investment in a disaster victim’s life.
Our Insurance Claims Restoration Package includes the following:
- Building & Structure Board-Up
- Water Removal
- Tree Removal
- Debris Removal
- Structural Stabilizing
- Emergency Lighting
- Water Extraction
- Roof Tarping
- Flood Relief
- Window Replacement
- Generator Services
- Building Estimate
- Negotiation & Settlement Content Estimate
- Business Loss Estimate – Negotiation & Settlement
- Building Estimate – Negotiation & Settlement
- Contents Estimate – Negotiation & Settlement
- Contents Pack Out, Cleaning, & Storage
- Temporary Housing
- Building Restoration & Complete Repair
- Legal Claims Services & Litigation
- Legal Review Of All Insurance Policies
- Legal Consultation During Loss Negotiation
Our staff of experts and public adjusters provide these services in a complete package so you can focus on what matters most — your family or business.
Harris Claims Services will move as quickly as possible to meet policy requirements to evaluate the facts and prepare the claim. Our prompt service helps preserve evidence that may otherwise be overlooked or destroyed through an insurance company adjuster. While it is our office which will prepare, support and negotiate the claim, the ultimate decision to accept is the owner.
The Entire Fire Claim Process
Our staff and a team of fire loss experts handle every single phase of the settlement procedure through and including the repair process.
PHASE 1 – Claims Adjustment: Adjust, Maximize, and Settle the Claim
During Phase One, Harris Claims Services helps manage the preparation, negotiation, and settlement of all claims covered under the insurance policy. Before concluding any settlement, our staff of experts reviews the policy to confirm that all claims have been accounted for and maximized, including numerous clauses within a policy that can increase the recoverable amount.
PHASE 2 – Repair & Restoration: Construction & Restoration Of Damaged Property
Upon a verbal settlement agreement, HCS begins construction immediately. We won’t wait for the insurance company to issue the settlement checks, which can sometimes take months from the date of the fire. If our customer decides to keep Harris Claims Services to perform the fire repairs or restoration after Phase 1, then there is no building adjusting fee, and work is done based on the amount agreed upon by the insurance company.
We promise to guide you through every stage of the disaster recovery process as we continue to work with your insurance company to help get your property back to how it was before the fire, if not better.
Fire Damage Claim Costs & Fees
There is no out-of-pocket expense to the policy holder. Our fee is paid from insurance proceeds. We charge between 7% and 10% of the insurance company’s claims settlement with you. The fee for our public adjusting services is offset by the larger settlement that is obtained by using our services.
We want our customers to understand all aspects of the claim process, how our staff of public adjusters works for you, and how we can relieve your stress in this challenging situation. Our team has helped policyholders obtain on average 35% to 200% more from their claims. Let our public adjusters put our years of service and experience to work for you — CALL US NOW 847-329-8444!
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