The natural reaction from someone whose home has just suffered fire damage is to clean up, tidy up, dispose and use all the help from neighbours and friends you can
This can be a big mistake. We are finding more and more that the process of dealing with liability investigation is slower and slower. Insurers may take 4-6 weeks even in the most straightforward of circumstances to complete investigation.
The process involves:
- 1. Loss Adjusters visit & interview
- 2. A Forensic Investigation & testing
- 3. A claims history & disclosure investigation
- 4. An interview by Insurers or their solicitors
- 5. Alarm system activation logs and other reports
All before liability is accepted.
Our advice in all cases is to do nothing until insurers accept liability. If you clear the site, your insurers may well claim you have prejudiced the
investigation and delay or go negative on a decision. You may then have a defence that you cannot contest the decision if the scene is cleared or bring your own forensic investigation.
The time it takes for insurers to decide will not be wasted.
You can start planning and preparing for reinstatement:
- Get your drawings and specifications lined up
- Get prices from the builders
- Talk to suppliers
- Decide how the process of reinstatement can happen
During this period claim documents will be prepared for all losses insured:
Supporting documents like invoices and quotations will be required in each section of claim. You may also need engineering reports or structural surveys.
Once insurers are on board and claim is submitted, there is a negotiation process which again could take four to eight weeks more.
Works may start in the meantime but you are still exposed if your costs are not in line with insurers’ proposals or worse, parts of the loss are underinsured or not at
all. You then have a balancing act to manage.
We all have difficulties with banks in Ireland today. You may not be in a position
to borrow funds to support the reinstatement costs to fix and repair the damage, let
alone make improvements. This means you may be fully dependent on your
Insurers and insurance policy to pay for the damage.
Even when agreement is reached, the process is not complete. Your insurers will
pay part of this settlement, the balance being payable when the company re-check
your repairs and the cost of repairs to ensure that the terms and conditions of the
policy and the settlement are met.
This final stage is just as important as the start
of the process.