A fire in your home can not only result in serious property damage, it can cause devastating injuries and even death. According to National Fire Protection Association, home fires caused an annual average of 2,560 deaths, 12,720 injuries, and $6.7 billion in property damage. Although home fires can happen at any time, they are most likely to occur in December and January.
If you were injured in a fire, contact our experienced Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. We will help you file a claim with an insurance company or pursue a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary. Call today at (281) 283-8500.
Common Causes of House Fires During Winter Months
During the winter months, colder weather and holiday activities lead people to stay at home more which can increase the risk of home fires. Some of the most common causes of home fires in winter months include:
- Christmas trees
- Unattended Candles
- Cooking equipment
- Heating equipment (e.g. space heater)
- Malfunctioning electrical and lighting equipment
- Holiday decorations
- Electrical failures or overburdened electrical connections
Fire Damage Claims
It the blink of an eye, a fire can destroy your home and other valuable personal property. In fact, fire damage is one of the costliest and most common types of homeowner’s insurance claims. While filing a fire damage claim may be the last thing on your mind after losing something you value, it is important to understand your options so that you can protect yourself and your property.
Homeowners policies generally fall into one of two categories–comprehensive (also known an open perils or all-risk) or named perils policies, which only cover losses specifically named in the policy. Although homeowners’ policies can vary in levels of coverage, most policies cover losses caused by fire and lightning. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, most homeowners’ policies cover losses up to the policy limits for fire damage to:
- Dwellings, meaning the structure of the home
- Personal property – Items in your home that were destroyed by fire
- Other structures – Expenses to rebuild or repair structure that are not attached to your home
- Loss of use – living expenses if you have to leave your residence due to damage from a fire.
For those who do not own a home, renters’ insurance may also cover the costs of personal property damaged or destroyed by a residential fire.
Common Issues with Fire Damage Claims
If your home has been destroyed in a fire and is insured, you may be able to receive compensation for your property damage and economic losses by filing a fire damage claim with your insurance company. However, it is important to be aware of some of the problems you may encounter in the claims process. These may include:
- Insufficient coverage (i.e. underinsured)
- Delays in payment
- Denial of coverage
- Confusion over what’s covered and what’s not
- Lowball estimates and settlement offers
- Insurance adjuster is difficult to work with
- Disagreement over adjuster’s estimates of scope and value of losses
- Bad faith practices by the insurance company
The Texas Department of Insurance recommends the following steps to ensure that the fire damage claims process runs smoothly:
- Know your policy’s coverage and exclusions
- Continue to pay insurance premiums
- Create an inventory of damaged property
- Take photos or videos of damaged property prior to repairs
- Keep documentation or receipts of replacement costs for damaged personal property
- If possible, be present when the insurance adjuster inspects your home
Experienced and Sophisticated Legal Representation
The fire damage claims process can be overwhelming and frustrating during such a trying time in your life. If you believe that your fire damage claim has been wrongfully denied or your insurance company has treated you unfairly, you should speak with an experienced Houston attorney right away to discuss your options.
At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., our skilled attorneys can evaluate how much your claim is worth, help you with filing a claim, and negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. To find out how The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help, contact us today (281) 283-8500.