House fires can be devastating. Often, structural fires result in a complete loss of a home. Sometimes, however, homes are rebuilt after a fire, much to the surprise of the homeowner who likely imagined having to relocate while witnessing their home being engulfed in flames. It can be a bit unsettling to settle back into a house when you've seen it on fire, particularly if hidden damage is discovered during the reconstruction phase.
If your home is being reconstructed after a structural fire and you are having second thoughts about the process, you may be wondering if you have any options available to you. That all depends on whether or not you already signed a release. Here's what you need to know.
If you did sign a release—hire a lawyer
If you signed a release, then you may not have any recourse. A release is a letter that your insurance company may have asked you to sign when your claim settlement was offered. This release would have stated that your insurance carrier will not be responsible for any additional payment, even if any supplemental or hidden damage is found. You will need to contact an insurance lawyer as soon as possible. The only recourse you may have available to you is if the lawyer finds that the insurance carrier and/or insurance company's adjuster intentionally and fraudulently left important information and line items out of the claim. To prove this, the lawyer will need to hire a public adjuster.
If you did not sign a release—hire a public adjuster
If you did not sign the release, and your reconstruction contractors have either discovered additional problems or have run out of materials and/or money, you will need to hire a public adjuster. Do not ask the contractors to contact the insurance company as this could be misconstrued as the unauthorized practice of public adjusting, which is against the law in most areas.
Hire a public adjuster to delve into your insurance claim for you without going through a lawyer. A public adjuster essentially does the same work as a company adjuster, except that he or she works for the homeowners rather than for the insurance companies. Even though they perform the same job as what was already performed by the company adjuster, it's always a good idea to have an extra set of experienced eyes to take a look at things. He or she may annotate the damage the original company adjuster left out of the claim. Contact services like Great Lakes Public Adjusting to learn more.