In 2017, nearly 400,000 homes suffered damage due to fire. Of these, more than half were due to cooking. Heating, general carelessness, and electrical malfunction were the next most common causes, although accounting for just over 20% collectively.
When describing fire damage, it’s important to understand that “fire damage” refers to multiple types of damage that result from fire. The most common damage to structures and materials as a result of fire are physical burning, charring, heat damage, smoke damage, and water damage. If a fire is successfully contained to the kitchen, the house may still suffer smoke damage throughout. Water damage is common in home fires that have required a response from the fire department. When the firefighters arrive, their goal is to stop the spread of the fire – often through the use of water. Unfortunately, this often comes at the cost of the areas surrounding the burning area, both adjacent to underneath.
For homes with a basement, the large volume of water used to douse a fire must go somewhere. That somewhere is often through the floors which can result in basement flooding. In addition to flooding damage in the basement, homeowners have significant risk for mold growth in the walls and floors due to the heightened moisture following the fire.
The risk for fire damage and resulting water damage in commercial properties is equally high. In commercial properties, cooking is still the highest cause of fire at nearly 30%. However, other causes, such as carelessness and malfunctions, are much more common in commercial properties.
What should you do if your property has fire damage?
If your property, whether residential or commercial, suffers fire damage and you are insured, you will begin the battle with the insurance company to receive the money that you may be entitled to. If you’re a homeowner, you’re likely to be displaced. If so, there are two key things that you should be aware of.
First, you should file your claim as soon as possible. The sooner that you file your claim, the sooner that you can get resolution and move on with repairing damage and replacing property that was damaged or lost in the fire.
Second, you can request an advance from your insurer to cover necessities that you were unable to take from the residence. You will need to speak with an agent of the insurance company and ask them to advance the funds from your eventual claim.
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with when filing a claim. After all, payouts on policies hurt their profits. At Palumbo Law, we offer zealous and experienced representation to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut homeowners in their insurance claims for property damage. With over 100 years of collective legal experience, our attorneys understand how insurance companies operate and can help you through the process from start to finish – ensuring that you get the resolution that you deserve. If you have suffered property damage due to fire, or have questions pertaining to property insurance, please contact our office to set up a consultation or complete the contact form.