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Than Four Combined Decades

Fire Damage

Homeowners in Panama City, FL typically contract with an insurance company to give themselves a financial safety net if a home is accidentally affected by fire damage. The cost of home repair for any kind of significant need is tremendous, so having a valid homeowners’ insurance policy is a necessity. It’s required for any home that is financed with a mortgage to protect lenders and their interest in the home as loan collateral. The above said, having home insurance is not automatically the same thing as being able to use it for damage repair.

Home Fire Damage Can be Incredibly Destructive

The obvious damage of a fire happens with what is ignited and burns. This kind of damage is immediately visible. However, it does a lot more than just burn. It creates a tremendous amount of gas offsets, burn byproducts, and smoke. All three of those things can cause damage too. Even things that are not burned can be contaminated with smoke, chemicals, and solids turned hot enough to become gases and then permeate other materials. It is no surprise then, that a fire can cause a tremendous amount of secondary damage too.

All of that contaminated material has to be removed, disposed of, and then replaced. So, while one room in a home might burn, three to four other rooms plus hallways could be seriously damaged as well. All of that drives up the cost of fire damage that an insurance company might have to pay for with coverage.

What Homeowner’s Insurance Likely Will Cover

In an ideal situation, homeowners insurance in Florida will usually protect several situations involving fire damage. These conditions are spelled out in the insurance policy for a given home. They also provide a limit of coverage that will be provided, which may not be sufficient for all the damage costs.

Typical situations include fire caused by lightning, theft, wiring failure, home defects, and smoke damage from a viable fire cause. And they happen more often than people think. For example, in 2020 Panama City Fire Department responded to over 130 fires in its municipal area alone.

The insurance company with a home fire has two choices: provide coverage for limited damage or declare the home as a total loss. Where there is a total loss by insurance review evaluation, the provider typically then focuses on what was the insured cost of the home versus the replacement cost, which can also lead to concern for the homeowner trying to get back into a home again.

What Insurance Usually Won’t Cover With Fire Damage

In cases of arson, where the fire was intentionally set and evidence indicates such a crime, homeowners’ insurance won’t provide coverage. Arson doesn’t fit the definition of an unexpected, accidental damage cause; it was generated by an intentional, criminal act. Insurance providers are highly sensitive to arson as it tends to be a frequent tool used for insurance fraud, with perpetrators assuming fire will cover up evidence of an intentionally set fire. So, if investigators find signs of the same, the insurance company involved will immediately move to deny any related claims.

Another typical situation for denial will involve a fire that occurs in a home that was known to be empty. In these instances, a vacated home is left at risk of negligence or vandalism, all of which were preventable. So, no surprise, that insurance providers tend to deny these claims as well. The condition is met if the insurance company can prove the home was vacated for longer than 30 consecutive days before the fire started.

To offset the vacant home coverage denial risk, a homeowner needs to take advantage of a vacant home policy rider or amendment, which isn’t automatically offered. The additional protection needs to be asked for and added to the existing policy. The homeowner also needs to notify the provider of the condition as well ahead of time before the home goes vacant, not after the fact. Not having either will almost certainly end up with a denial of coverage and needing help from an insurance claim lawyer.

Don’t Face an Incorrect Denial of  Fire Damage Coverage Alone

If you’ve been denied coverage for a home fire in Panama City, FL and you believe your situation should have been covered, especially when it meets the terms of your homeowners insurance policy, then it’s time to bring in the help of a home insurance lawyer. Expert legal help can sort out what should have been protected as well as remind insurance companies not to be too aggressive in trying to deny every claim, especially those that are valid.

The Morgan Law Group has been helping clients regularly with denied fire damage claims and continues to do so, clarifying the coverage people depend on for help as well as a financial safety net when a serious accident occurs. When it’s time for help with a denied claim, it’s time to bring in the denied claim legal representation for an effective solution.