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The Difference Between an Arson Claim and a Legitimate Fire Claim Detailed by Policyholder Attorney Bill Voss

Arson versus a Legitimate Fire Insurance Claim

Arson is the act of maliciously or intentionally setting properties like buildings, wild land areas, homes and cars on fire. There must be deliberate intent on the offender to set the property on fire. It does not cover situations or fires that are brought about by natural causes like wildfires and spontaneous combustion. Arson is a crime while a fire due to a natural cause is not.

When you take out insurance on your home, car, office or any other property, you will most likely have fire insurance. One standard provision of fire insurance policies would be the exclusion of fires caused by arson. This means that when your property is damaged due to arson, you will not be entitled to collect any proceeds under your policy. This is understandable because as explained above, arson is a crime and no one should be compensated for doing something against the law. This prohibition is likewise set to protect insurance companies from abusive persons who will deliberately burn down their properties just so they can collect insurance compensation.

The no claim provision for arson has noble intentions. However, some insurance companies also abuse this provision to their advantage. Some persons with legitimate fire insurance claims end up empty handed simply because the insurance company would stubbornly insist that the fire was brought about by arson. It is unfortunate that these companies would use an inapplicable exception to deny a valid insurance claim just so they can save on costs in paying the proceeds.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, make sure to bear these things in mind:

An insurance company cannot claim from thin air that the fire was due to arson. Its position should not be merely due to speculation and suspicion that arson occurred. Its claim should be backed by solid facts and proof before it can be used as basis to deny your claim.
Arson is a convenient excuse for insurance companies when they see that the fire department was unable to locate or identify the source of the fire. However, the mere fact that the source cannot be pinpointed does not automatically mean that arson occurred. Work closely with the fire investigators to make sure that all bases are covered to prevent the insurance company from concluding that there was arson.

If the insurance company insists that your claim is excluded because of arson, engage the services of another fire investigator who can inspect your property and conduct an independent investigation. This will serve as a second opinion. If this second investigation yields a result contrary to that of the initial fire report, you can present the second fire investigator’s testimony if your insurance claim reaches the courts.

If the insurance company still refuses to pay your valid and legitimate fire insurance claim despite the contrary findings of the second fire investigator, you should consult an experienced insurance claims lawyer who can help you out in negotiating with and making a final demand on the insurance company. If all out-of-court attempts to settle the dispute fail, your lawyer can guide you on your possible remedies against the insurance company.

Bill Voss
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Aggressive policyholder attorney that fights hard for his clients and won't stop until he wins.
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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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