There is no such thing as an entirely straightforward insurance claim, because the insurance company would like to limit the payout and the claimant wants to recover the entire cost. That’s why we have Public Adjusters. Smoke damage, though, can be more difficult than most claims because it’s harder to see.
If your carpets are charred and your dining table is burned, there’s no question about the damage – everyone can see it. Smoke and soot damage is usually less obvious to the naked eye. What the claimant needs to know - and in most cases this will require the expert guidance of the Public Adjuster - is exactly how smoke travels and what sort of smoke it was that caused the damage.
What Smoke And Soot Do
Smoke is as efficient as water at getting into every conceivable space. The damage it does there can take time to show and may vary depending on what sort of material it came from. Wood produces one kind of smoke, plastic another and as for medication and medical supplies, you don’t even want to think about it.
Then there’s the question of smoke that finds its way into the wall cavity – how, exactly, is that going to be cleaned, assuming it’s discovered in the first place? Whatever you do, do NOT attempt to do the job yourself. You’ll need a qualified contractor and that has to be paid for. The thing you must never lose sight of is that soot damage can have long-term effects on the value of your home and you need to know about it – and fix it – as part of the cleanup after a fire and not when you’re selling the house and a potential buyer sends in an expert surveyor.
Immediate Dos and Don’ts
There are some easy rules to follow if you think that your home may have suffered smoke and/or soot damage:
- Don’t start repairs until the insurance company has given you a repair offer that you can accept.
- Never forget that the adjuster is there for the insurance company and not for you. Your interests are protected by a Public Adjuster, not by the one the insurance company sends.
- Keep a close eye on all materials and possessions that may have been affected. What you are looking for is the slow deterioration that typically results from soot damage.
Why You Need Your Own Adjuster
Public Adjusters work for the insured person. The adjuster who arrives shortly after you ring the insurance company is sent by them - and works for them. This person is not a bad person but you’re not the one paying the bill and it isn’t your interests that the adjuster will be looking out for. A Florida Public Adjuster is bonded by the state and looks after your interests.
Typically, we get the call some time after the fire when the insured person has already submitted a claim and isn’t happy with the offer the insurance company has made. You’ll do a lot better – and it will certainly take a lot less time to reach a satisfactory conclusion – if you call Florida Public Adjusters as soon as possible after the fire is out. Ideally, call (786) 537–7753 BEFORE you call the insurance company. You’ll have a much happier ending to the calamity of a fire if you do.