Pittsburgh House Fire Claim Settlement – Lesson Learned – Read Your Policy!

Pittsburgh House Fire Claim Settlement – Lesson Learned – Read Your Policy!

As we approach the winter season, we are all starting to turn on our heat, bundle up, pull out those space heaters for our drafty basements and turn on the heated blanket at night. While all the above are effective ways to stay warm during the winter months, it’s important to note that all of these methods of warmth are major contributors to the origin of commercial or residential house fires.

In November of 2021 a Pittsburgh area couple tragically lost their home to a devastating house fire that was completely destroyed by the fire, water and smoke. The fire was determined to have started from a new furnace. It was one of the first times it had been used and really cranking after the fall months.  Thankfully, after some time in the hospital due to smoke inhalation, the couple was released and escaped serious damage. Or so they thought.

Within the next day or so they contacted their insurance company and made them aware of the loss. With a quick $5,000 advanced payment and a hotel room set up for them, the couple thought everything was moving smoothly and they were told they would be back home in 6 months.

Fast forward two months ahead where the insureds receive a phone call from their insurance company adjuster stating that he had written a check to their mortgage company to pay off their mortgage. Thinking this was normal, they said ok and a few days later received a $70,000.00 check for the repairs to their house that they were told needs to be torn to the ground.

After meeting with a few builders, all of whom stated they could not repair the property and or provided a quote to repair, they were referred to licensed public adjuster Zach Flora with Tutwiler & Associates Public Insurance Adjusters.

With Mr. Floras expertise in the claims process he was able to recognize the unfair practices that had occurred with this claim. With a few phone calls Mr. Flora was able to rectify some issues and call attention to the fact that the insurance company cannot pay off your mortgage unless you elect to do so. Luckily, in this case, the client’s mortgage company recognized this and did not cash the check that was sent to them. They returned the check where it was cancelled and reissued so that those funds were now available to them for repairs to their home.

Next, while it appeared the insurance company was paying most of the policy limit listed on the declarations page for the fire damage to the dwelling, a review of the full policy showed that there was an endorsement that added an additional 150% of that limit in the event that it was needed to repair or rebuild the property.

With the all-important review of the full insurance policy, Mr. Flora was able to assemble a complete detailed repair estimate, clearing up any repair discrepancies. Although this insurance company and their team of managers tactically delayed and put up a drawn-out fight, Mr. Flora stayed persistent and pointed out the facts of the claim, speaking the industry language. Eventually, the insurer agreed to an amount in excess of 6 figures above their original repair estimate along with another 6 figure increase to pay for the couple’s personal property damaged in the fire.

The lesson learned is to stress the importance of having a full copy of your insurance policy with all of the forms and endorsements attached or at least be aware of what your policy consists of and review it with a professional. Those endorsements can contain important information that either adds coverage, or sometimes can take it away. In this case, by contacting a professional it allowed these homeowners to restore their life and start over.

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  • Pittsburgh House Fire Claim Settlement – Lesson Learned – Read Your Policy!
  • Pittsburgh House Fire Claim Settlement – Lesson Learned – Read Your Policy!
  • Pittsburgh House Fire Claim Settlement – Lesson Learned – Read Your Policy!

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Tutwiler & Associates Public Adjusters, Inc.
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters & Loss Consultants
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