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How to Handle Insurance After a Fire Part I

In 2019, fires burned nearly 2 million acres of land in Alberta. That is over 3.5 times the amount of land burned than in the last five year average. In the summer of 2019, more than 10,000 people had to be evacuated and 16 homes were destroyed. Fires seem to be becoming an increasingly significant threat to land in Alberta, not to mention the homes on that land. There is the threat of wildfires, as well as more domestic dangers: accidentally leaving your stove on, a lamp shade catching fire, or some other cause of household fire. When you lose your home and all your possessions in it due to a fire, it can be a devastating experience. The last thing you want to happen is for your homeowner’s insurance company to resist or make it difficult for you to file your insurance claim. After a fire, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that you get adequately compensated for your loss.

If you are in Edmonton and are dealing with an insurance company who has denied or who are reticent about adequately approving your claim, call WSYC Law and ask about what we can do to help your insurance claim succeed. Sorting out losses and filing a claim on your own can be a complicated affair, which is why we recommend seeking professional help to navigate the process. Contact WSYC Law today! Our team of experienced insurance lawyers provide some of the best legal assistance for filing insurance claims in all of Alberta. Our fees are low (and non-existent until after you claim is settled) and we have a long track record of successful cases. Read our testimonials for yourself!

Tips for Filing a Fire Insurance Claim

If you don’t already have fire insurance and are lucky to have not yet had to deal with a fire, it may be prudent to call your insurance company and ask about their policy options that include fire insurances. Fire can happen to anyone; it’s good to be prepared. Preface out of the way, let’s look at some useful tips to help you when filing your fire insurance claim.

Ask for an Advance

When a fire happens, you may have to abandon everything except what you have on your body. In such cases, ask your insurance company for an advance against your ultimate fire insurance claim. They can send you a check for immediate replacement of items according to the cash value of the things you lost. If you need more pants, toiletries, etc., they can give you an advance for them. Just remember to save the receipts of everything you buy, as, depending on your policy, your replacement coverage may only be according to the “actual cash value” of your lost items. Don’t feel like you can’t get your necessities replaced after a fire, as your fire insurance policy will usually include replacement coverage. However, buy things at reasonable prices, because your insurance company may only be covering part of the purchases.

Protect Your Property

All fire insurance policies require you to take steps to minimize the harm of your property. So when your house suffers from a fire, don’t just abandon it. The first thing you need to do when a fire occurs is to get it put out. Call the local fire department to put out anything smoldering. After you’re sure the fire is totally and completely out, it is likely a good idea to board the house up to prevent vandalism. Lastly, you’ll want to check up on the house regularly to make sure that it hasn’t been disturbed or that new problems have developed.

Immediately File Your Claim

You should report your loss to your insurance company as soon as reasonably possible. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner an adjuster will arrive to get your claim dealt with. Your insurance company will likely ask for “proof of loss of claim”, where you will need to itemize all of your losses. Taking lots of pictures of your belongings after (though ideally before) a fire will go a long way in expediting your claim.

Get Reimbursed for Your Living Expenses

After being evacuated from your home, you may find yourself staying with a friend or relative for an extended period of time. Even though they may not require you to pay to stay with them, your insurance company may still reimburse them for putting you up in your time of need. Get your hosts to itemize the costs of having you stay with them — food, the value of the room(s), and the other services they provide you — and then send that over to your insurance company. If they resist paying for it, you may want to remind them how much more they would end up having to pay out if you were staying at a hotel and eating at restaurants every day instead.

Don’t Let Your Insurance Company Move Too Slowly

Sometimes insurance companies may drag their feet in approving your homeowner’s insurance claim. In Alberta, they are expected to send you a “notice of intentions” within the first 30 days of you filing a claim. If you think they are intentionally moving too slowly or stringing you along on your case, give WSYC a call to get help expediting the process of fulfilling your claim in your time of need. Our Alberta law firm aims to uphold the utmost trust, reliability, and compassion with our clients. If you have been the victim of a fire and are wanting help in filing your insurance claim, don’t hesitate to call us. No claim is too big or small for us to take on, and you don’t have to pay anything for our services until after the claim has been successful. If you want help negotiating a fire insurance claim with your insurance company and get help making the strongest case you can — crossing all your t’s and dotting all your i’s, give WSYC a call today!