What you need to know about fire damage
Fire losses are one of the most common perils covered under your insurance policy. Negotiating your way through this type of devastation takes its toll more so than other perils due to the sheer magnitude of damage to your building and personal property, which if severe, can leave you with little to salvage.
THE SHIRT ON YOUR BACK
Although other perils can be highly devastating, a substantial fire can literally leave you with the shirt on your back, or outside your home clad in pajamas watching your home burn along with thousands of your belongings.
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Of course, water damage and humidity resulting from fire suppression methods, as well as mold and smoke containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) find their way into every crevice of your living and storage areas, as well as your protective storage containers (Tot’s) and vacuum-sealed bags.
FIRE DAMAGE COMPOUNDED BY THEFT – MOVING TO TEMPORARY HOUSING.
- You may need a board-up company and a temporary alarm system to deter intruders. Failing to secure your home can result in your carrier refusing to pay for property stolen after your fire.
- Removing items you value can be a huge undertaking. Smoke damaged personal items you treasure (e.g. photo albums) may be heavily contaminated and need to be isolated and serviced. Moving them to your temporary housing may contaminate that location.
- For large losses, it would be wise to align yourself with a restoration firm having your interests in mind and should follow standard IICRC protocols and not that of an insurance adjuster with an interest to unjustly stem payouts at your expense.
Note: Many soft goods cannot be rid of heavy contaminates, (e.g. burned plastics, fire extinguishers, contaminated water, fallen insulation debris, and mold) even when washed or dry-cleaned multiple times and doing so should not be an option.
WHAT WE DO FOR YOUR BUILDING DAMAGE – WE NEVER UNDERESTIMATE
We will account for the quality of your building materials and the appropriate cost for the skilled trade persons you are entitled to. Quality construction costs must include a general contractor’s legal requirements to provide employee health, welfare, and benefits carrier’s typically underfund or omit. Our initial building damage assessments along with any supplemental damages discovered during the course of your reconstruction project will never fall short of what you are entitled to, nor will you be forced to retain the services of a sub-standard construction firm unfamiliar with the high cost of retrofitting fire-damaged structures.
WHAT WE DO FOR YOUR PERSONAL PROPERTY DAMAGE
Our personnel are trained to sift through, identify and document your home’s contents. Insurance adjusters won’t pay for damages to property that they can’t identify. If you don’t have receipts for what you are claiming, you may not be compensated for missing or unidentifiable hi priced items, however we may be able to assist you in proving what you owned.
AN INEXPERIENCED OR LAZY ADJUSTER CAN CAUSE YOU TO LOSE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN POLICY BENEFITS.
No one relishes the thought of darning a breathing element and Tyvek protective clothing to wade through burnt, wet, mold and or smoke contaminated contents in order to photograph and individually identify your personal property, but at CPAC that’s just what we do in order to obtain the replacement cost of tens of thousands of our clients damaged items.
BULK ESTIMATING vs. INDIVIDUAL ITEMIZATION
Individual itemization is a daunting task, which requires expertise and dedication. Every damaged item in your home has a value, which can add up to tens of thousands of insurance dollar benefits. Unlike most adjusters and their inventory vendors, we do not bulk estimate your property. Each item regardless of its size and or value is photo-documented and researched for the preparation and presentation of your claim.
Please see examples of our detailed building and personal property estimating methods that shock insurance company adjusters who habitually bulk estimate policyholder damages, allowing thousands of dollars in undocumented property to be disposed of.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT, SECURITY & RESTORATION VENDORS
When retained we can recommend a list of Board-Up and IICRC restoration vendors for you to chose from who will perform their duties in accordance with strict industry protocols and have your best interest in mind by not cutting corners as many insurance company vendors may do when paid lower fees under contract.
INSURANCE INDUSTRY – RESTORATION INDUSTRY
Many insurance companies preferred restoration vendors agree to accept less money in exchange for a higher volume of work. The result of this arrangement has been known to affect the quality of work policyholders receive.
CUTTING COSTS AND VOIDING PRODUCT WARRANTY
In some cases, insurance company adjusters looking to cut costs for their employers recommend unqualified electronics and appliance repair vendors who are not authorized by the product’s manufacturer to repair or restore your electronics.
ADVERSE CONDITIONS AND EXPOSURES THAT VOID A MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY
Disassembling or applying chemical cleaning techniques to electronics will likely void a manufacturer’s warranty, and may be dangerous. Insurance carriers will not match a manufacturer’s warranty nor the product’s life expectancy in writing beyond 90 days. Since most electronics are not manufactured for adverse conditions, filing a warranty claim without disclosing the products’ history may constitute a false insurance filing. A product warranty is an insurance policy and is subject to all of the conditions of insurance fraud statutes. Not surprising, we have heard adjusters tell policyholders not to disclose the products damage history if filing a warranty claim after their vendors’ 90-day repair warranty expired.
If your electronic devices were exposed to heat, smoke particle contaminants and or moisture, it makes sense that the manufacturer of that device will not only void the warranty, but they would not want the responsibility or liability if their product created a danger (fire) after being exposed to conditions not intended when manufacturing their electronic devices.
See our general information page on why insurance companies prefer to wash your television rather than replace it.
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