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3 months ago I woke up went downstairs and the house was on fire. The fire departments came put it out but my house was cedar and nothing was left… I called the insurance they came out right away. They were all really nice helpful people and said once the fire report came back, I turned in my contents list, and all the paperwork was completed I would get a check for my policy limits since it was a total loss. Well 2 months later and the fire department returned no phone calls, never filed a report, and since its volunteer nobody was ever at the station the insurance sent out their own investigator. The insurance sent me an advance for $ 5000 so that helped out. After about 2 weeks his report came back and said there wasn’t enough of the house left to tell what started the fire. Its been another 2 weeks and I still haven’t heard anything from the insurance.. I have a full replacement policy. How much longer should I wait? I don’t want to get a lawyer at all but I don’t wanna be at their mercy and wait forever to move on with my life…. It sucks paying a mortgage for 3 months and for an apartment and not knowing how long this will go on…. The insurance has been very nice to me and always answers all my questions but keeps saying, oh it shouldn’t be much longer.

4 Thoughts on House burned down, Insurance timeline questions.?
  1. Reply
    George
    June 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    first I’m sorry for the loss of your home. this is always a stressful time for people. also its very unfortunate that your insurance company is dragging there feet. based on your description you will surely get paid out the full value of your loss. sometimes companies take their time with these types of payouts due to the high risk of fraud and the large sum of money involved. I’m sure they will be paying you shortly for the loss however if you wish to hurry things along call your claims rep. if you have not been assigned a claims rep then just call the companies claims department. explain the situation and tell them you are very distraught and would like to know what the holdup is. they should give you a time line. if they give you the run around for some reason tell them you will not hesitate to seek legal council and the employment of a private adjuster. I don’t think that will be necessary but just in case you know what to say.
    good luck and again sorry for your loss.

    PS if they do give you the run around don’t hesitate to shop once this is all over.

  2. Reply
    mbrcatz
    June 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Well, let me clear that up right now . . . you do NOT get a check for the policy limit. That’s not how it works.

    The insurance company CANNOT pay for the house until the fire marshall’s report is in . . . but it’s EXTREMELY suspicious that the house burned to the ground. Very, very few losses are that COMPLETE.

    What they pay, up front, is DEPRECIATED VALUE. It gets made out to you and the bank jointly – and IF you decide to rebuild, as the rebuilding happens, the depreciation part gets paid back to you.

    If you do NOT rebuild on site, then you do NOT get the cost to replace your home.

    Typically, it takes anywhere from 3 to 18 months to settle a fire claim like this – so you’re just at the beginning. Getting a lawyer, will automatically add 12 to 24 months to the time it takes to settle. That’s just how it works, and you’ll be giving up a HUGE chunk of the TOTAL value of your house – not just the depreciated value – to your lawyer.

    The lawyer is the LAST guy you want to hire. Before him, you’d hire a public adjuster, and before that, you’d complain in writing to your state insurance commissioner, and before that, you’d talk to your agent and ask them to expedite the situation.

  3. Reply
    Casey Y
    June 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    As usual, mbrcatz answered perfectly.

    I had to point out that the circumstaces are suspicious, it is extremely rare for a house to burn to the ground.

    One thing to add, the insurance company should (depending on your policy and state) pay for your additional living expenses. They won’t pay the mortgage, but they should be paying for your apartment.

  4. Reply
    John G
    June 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    You’re getting some questionable advice, here. It is true, technically, that the insurance only pays the cost of replacing the home if you actually replace it; otherwise, you are paid depreciated value. On the other hand, if the depreciated value is more than the policy limits, than the policy pays off at face amount.

    If the fire is set by the owner, then we have a case of fraud, in which case the company will pay nothing; or, if they DID pay, they’ll do their vest to get it back from you. I assume this is not the case.

    There is no reason to withhold payment, however, if the fire is from any other cause, including arson. Nothing in the policy requires a fire department report. And the insurer can continue to investigate the loss after they pay you. Consequently, there is no reason for them not to do so.

    Meanwhile, you are entitled to, and are receiving, some payment under the “Additional Living Expense” portion of your coverage. You mentioned a mortgage, so there is obviously a bank involved. After all, the check is going to be made out to them, as well as you. Ask your bank to “heavy up” on the insurance company.

    You should also contact your State Insurance Department (by whatever name it goes under) to ask for their special help in getting the matter resolved.

    Pay no attention to the advice you’re getting here about investigations, arson, etc. The straight dope is in the policy. I challenge anyone to find any wording which requires a report from a fire department.

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