The natural reaction from someone whose machine has just suffered fire damage is to clean up or dump it.
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 four to six 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
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.
During this period claim documents will be prepared. Supporting documents like invoices and quotations will be required. You may also need machine maintenance reports.
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.