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What the Insurance Company is Responsible For – Part 3

Today’s video is about fire losses and dealing with the insurance company. 

What the Insurance Company is Responsible For

Fire damage is unquestionably, the most personal damage people can ever suffer at a house. I mean imagine if you have a tornado, sure, that can cause the kind of damage that gets really personal. But there’s something about fire that – the smoke that it creates, the water that had to be used to put it out. Your personal belonging are sitting in this stew of fire, soot and water. And then you are dealing with an insurance company bureaucrat who wants to pick through your personal belongings and decide what can be dry cleaned, what can be repaired or what has to be replaced. What’s covered in an insurance policy is clearly stated in most insurance policies, in some clearer than others of course. But the most important that insurance companies have to do for you after you’ve had a fire is to put you in a safe place- immediately. Even if their investigating the claim.  Imagine this, even if the insurance company believed that they could prove later that you were an arsonist, up until they make that choice, they are responsible for putting you and your family in a safe clean place until those matters are resolved. That coverage is all covered under the additional living expenses under your insurance policy.  The second thing that the insurance policy is responsible for doing is inventorying and replacing the damaged personal property that you have. When I have met with individuals at homes, you know, they always say the same thing to me. They always say, “these are just things.” and they’re right, but losing personal belongings like family photographs, wedding albums or things that their children made when they were younger. Like ornaments on a Christmas tree – I’ve seen so many insurance people show up at sites and start kicking around people’s personal belongings as if they’re just things that can be purchased at a department store, and they’re right, it is just stuff. They’ll go back to the stuff  store and get some more, but this is the insured stuff. This is their life expressed in the contents of the house that just burned down.  So the insurance company is responsible for identifying everything in that house and working with you to value it. Now, this can get very complicated because a lot of times people don’t have backup information regarding how much they paid for a television. Did they buy it on black Friday? Or did they buy it in the heat of the market? Who knows? It’s at that particular point where we try to work as closely as we can in treating the insureds that we work with, with the most respect possible. The last thing and also an important thing the insurance company is responsible for is putting your house back into the condition it was before the loss. What I mean by that is, it’s not a good effort, it’s not a good attempt. No. The insurance company must make that house as if no fire ever occurred there. That includes everything, not just from the replacement of the drywall or the carpeting or the doors, but they have to eliminate that smoke smell that people have in their memory after having been in their home after it burns down. If you can still smell smoke, the insurance companies job is not done and maybe that is when mine begins.  If your family has suffered a fire loss or your business has been damaged by fire, please visit our website at www.CorlessBarfield.com. You take care of your family and we’ll take care of the insurance company.