I’m a Victim of a House Fire: What’s Next?
House fires can be devastating, and the victims may find it hard to maintain composure and think logically in the aftermath. However, it is vital to know what steps to take after the incident and have some understanding of the fire insurance laws in California. This preparation will give you a better grasp on how to claim compensation under your homeowners’ insurance policy. Fire insurance in California is a part of every homeowner’s plan, and it will cover your losses and pay to replace any destroyed property and personal effects.
Nevertheless, you should be aware that insurance adjusters will primarily represent the interests of the insurance company, meaning they will do everything possible to lessen the prospective payout. It is best to have a skilled attorney, such as the experts at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Fleitman, handle the negotiations on your behalf to ensure you obtain the maximum amount of fire insurance compensation. Let’s delve further into the topic of house fires and outline the steps you need to take to file for compensation following the disaster.
Arranging All the Necessary Documentation
While insurance companies must abide by the fire insurance laws in California, they will usually require an enormous amount of documentation from you. They will demand proof for all your valuables and possessions lost in the fire. Without verifiable documentation and demonstrable evidence of your belongings, the insurance company may not compensate you for the true worth of your property. Instead, they may only offer to reimburse you an “average” amount.
While most people in ordinary circumstances would not think of it, it is important to keep photographic or video evidence of all your precious things. Make a detailed inventory, secure your most valuable items in a fireproof location, and upload your documentation to a cloud server. If you didn’t do this before the house fire, an experienced lawyer can help you establish proof of all your possessions and make a compelling case for comprehensive fire insurance compensation.
Immediate Steps to Take After a House Fire
- Until a fire safety expert or emergency professional tells you your house is safe, do not enter it after the fire. Only a trained professional will be able to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished. In some cases, you may not be able to enter the house at all due to the extent of the damages.
- You may be able to salvage some parts of the damaged property, so you should buy insurance to secure it. This purchase may sound ridiculous, but if a trespasser or thief enters the premises and suffers injuries, they could hold you liable.
- Call the fire department to obtain a copy of the fire report. It will include details about the house location, the date and time of the incident, and the condition of the house upon arrival. Your insurer will review this copy, and you need to know whether the details in this report are accurate.
- Do not presume that the police or the fire department will inform your insurer about the fire. Call them yourself to initiate the claim process. Retain every expense receipt related to the displacement of your family, including emergency lodging and living expenses.
Get Professional Help From a California Fire Insurance Lawyer
Even though you know the right way to report a house fire for insurance purposes, you still need to hire a knowledgeable fire insurance attorney to represent you. The expert team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Fleitman will help you file the correct documentation, answer all questions from investigators, and negotiate your claim with the insurance adjuster to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. We fight tooth and nail to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients, and we’ll do the same for you. Call us today at 310-912-7625 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial consultation.