Denied Insurance Claim Fire Loss Dispute for Garage and Substantial Equipment

Michael came to us after his home garage caught fire and the insurance company was stating that they were not going to pay the loss for various reasons including that he had unlicensed work done on the garage.  Needless to say, he was distraught and frustrated and completely exhausted.  The garage and the equipment that he had within it had been something that he has used as a long term hobby and used for personal use by the client for many years.  When the fire occurred, he had run out of his own home to see the garage completely engulfed in flames.  The garage and all of the equipment that he had inside it worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars burned to the ground despite immediate response from the local fire department.  Fortunately, no one was injured or killed during this unexpected and catastrophic tragedy. 

Michael thought that he had proper home insurance . . .  until he tried to place a claim.  The insurance company denied his claim on various grounds.  The insurance company attempted to deny his claim on the basis that the fire was caused by unlicensed work having been done to put in a pellet stove.  We were able to show that the actual cause of the fire had nothing to do with the pellet stove involved.  Then the insurance company attempted to assert that all of his equipment worth well over $200,000 was excluded by a policy provision the insurance company cited saying any business personal property is excluded but our research showed no local case law support.  We were able to show that Michael had a valid fire loss that was covered under his insurance policy and that the exclusions that the insurance company was citing including the fact that he had used some of the equipment as part of his business pursuits many years before did not mean that the loss of equipment was not properly recoverable when it was damaged under his homeowner’s policy.

After a long battle, we were able to obtain affidavits from various persons that were aware of Michael’s activities and use of the equipment.  Although he had been a mechanic and handyman most of his professional life, he was then retired.  He was also an avid practitioner and user of the equipment that was his own equipment and not part of any business.  He was entitled to proper compensation.

What The Client Had To Say:

“Attorney Bill Kennedy visited our home on a Sunday after knee surgery!”

My experience with Bill has been outstanding. I had a fire loss and my insurance company initially refused to pay. Before I found Bill I had spoken to 3 or 4 other attorneys who all required a retainer before they would even talk to me. Bill invited me into his office to sit down and talk about the case and even came out to my house on a Sunday (after he had knee surgery). What attorney is even available on Sundays? He didn’t get my hopes up but was realistic, although in the end, he got me more for my insurance claim I even expected. He is always open and transparent and made sure I was involved in every step of the process. Bill is not only book smart but street smart. He knows how to actually get things done. He surrounds himself with great people, too, who are always willing to help out. I can’t say enough good things about my experience and would recommend Bill Kennedy to anyone in an instant.”

Michael from Millis Legal Words of Wisdom:  If you suffer any type of denial of an insurance claim or are offered less than what you believe you are entitled to, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney.  Often times insurers may try to shortchange people who are entitled to proper compensation. 

Fire Loss Prevention Tips

Fire loss can happen to any home or business at any time. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average, U.S. fire departments respond to 1 home fire every 88 seconds. These fires are responsible for thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in direct damage. While there is ...

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