What to Know About Smoke Damage Claims

When a fire starts it can wreak havoc on your property. But what about the smoke associated with it? Smoke damage can also be a big concern when it comes to how it can impact your health and how it can also severely damage your property. Smoke particles can end up embedding themselves into your skin, eyes, and respiratory system, causing serious health issues. Those with pre-existing medical conditions or weakened lungs or hearts can find themselves further injured. 

Smoke Damage and Insurance

Smoke damage is generally considered a covered peril under most insurance policies, though it’s really important that you examine the fine print of your own policy. However, there are a lot of issues that arise concerning just how severe the associated damage is from the smoke. Insurance companies may despite a claim that the smoke caused as much damage as it did. 

Smoke can cause damage to property by discoloring materials such as tile and marble or by infiltrating rungs, curtains, and other porous materials. Sometimes insurance companies will pay for cleaning companies to care for your property, but sometimes smoke damage may be so severe that no amount of cleaning could fix the issue; rather, it would require replacing the property altogether. 

Denying a Claim of Smoke Damage

Unfortunately, sometimes your insurance company may deny your claim for smoke damage. There are several reasons as to why it may do so, such as:

  • Differing as to the valuation of the damage
  • Claiming that the smoke damage, resulted from a fire intentionally set (arson)
  • Believing the accusations or charges to be false
  • Finding a violation in the terms and conditions of the insurance policy

Partial Loss vs. Total Loss

When the property impacted by smoke damage can be salvaged, it is considered a partial loss. Partial loss may include things such as inadequate repair, remnants of smoke or ash, and diminished air quality. Since many insurance companies consider partial loss claims to be low priority, they often delay handling them.

When property is completely destroyed, it is considered a total loss. The insurer is responsible for determining if something is a total loss. If you believe that something is a total loss but your insurer does not, you can always hire a public adjuster to assess the damage and associated claim. He or she will determine whether your loss meets the criteria to be considered total. Considerable structural damage is often associated with a total loss. Put simply, if the foundation of a property is considered hazardous because its components are damaged, there’s a good shot it’s a total loss. 

PALUMBO LAW Helps Those in Rhode Island with their Property Insurance Claims

Property damage claims can be very overwhelming – especially when you’re not familiar with exactly how they work. That’s why consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced property insurance attorney can help. 

At PALUMBO LAW, our experienced Rhode Island Property Insurance lawyers work strategically to help our clients to get what they deserve. We have deep experience working with insurance companies and understand how to deal with them. If you plan on filing a claim or have done so and been denied, we can help. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!