Fire & Smoke Damage Claims
At Stewart Law, we understand the tumultuous aftershock that a fire can cause. Everything from clothing to appliances to irreplaceable memories all can be lost to fire damage. Having a valid insurance claim denied after the fact only deepens the wound left behind. We here at Stewart Law exclusively represent policyholders pursuing valid insurance claims, including claims for fire and smoke damage.
Any fire damage to your home or business is at least inconvenient and, at worst, catastrophic. The bottom line is that, in most cases, your insurer agreed to restore your home or commercial building to its pre-loss condition. We often see corners being cut on repairs, meaning our clients were not getting what they paid for - coverage to restore their property to its pre-loss condition.
We've seen insurer's trying to patch critical parts of our clients' buildings rather than replace the damaged component. One example is where an insurer tried to "sister" portions of roof trusses that were damaged by fire. We made the insurer replace the damaged trusses with new trusses.
Additionally for homeowner policies, a special law in Florida, called a matching statute, requires that any repairs made must match the existing condition of the house, and if the repairs don't match, then the insurer must pay the additional cost to make the repairs match.
For example, suppose your home or business has the same type of flooring in all the rooms and the flooring is 10 years old. If only the flooring in only one room is damaged but that type of flooring is no longer manufactured, or even if your flooring is faded, the insurer may be required to replace all of the flooring to insurer a match. The same principle applies to painted surfaces, cabinets, etc.
Finally, if your building is effectively a total loss, Florida's Valued Policy Law makes an insurer liable for policy limits if a covered loss destroys a covered structure. This is significant because when disaster strikes, you do not want to be in a dispute with an insurer. However, we often see insurers trying to force repairs on our clients when the insurer should be promptly paying out coverage limits to our clients.
If you've had a fire, call us. We'll tell you if you insurer is properly handling your claim. Initial consultations are always free.