After a home fire, it is easy to be grateful you survived the blaze; but what is less clear is how to proceed following such a crisis. Losing your home to a fire can be traumatic for anyone, especially if it was an older family home with sentimental value. There are several steps you need to take following a house fire; included here is a guide for navigating this process with the greatest ease possible.
Call Your Insurance Agent
It would be lovely if you could begin to slowly adjust and navigate through a traumatic experience such as this; unfortunately, many public adjusters and contractors will begin calling you to offer you deals for reassembling your house. The wisest move is to first call your insurance company before you commit to any deal with a mitigation or construction company. Discuss all options with your agent before moving forward.
Hire a Reputable Restoration Company
Once you know your options from the insurance agent, you can move forward in getting the house together. You will need a company that is able to board up windows, clean up soot and begin mitigation of any other water or fire damage. Ask your agent for suggestions; your agent is well-versed in these kind of situations and can provide names of reputable, affordable companies.
Find Your Damaged Property
The insurance company is going to need a detailed list of all damaged and undamaged property at your home. It is wise to separate all the property yourself and compile a list of damaged items. Be sure your list includes the item’s price, serial number, date purchased, model and brand names. Try to locate receipts for your purchases or request previous bank statements. If you are having trouble with any of this information, be mindful to take photos of the damaged property to aid your claim.
Remove Your Undamaged Property
Any property that is not damaged should be quickly removed from the site to prevent any further loss or destruction. If this means you must put it in a storage location, keep track of the costs. Often, insurance companies will be able to reimburse any storage costs for undamaged property.
Find Somewhere To Stay
Many homeowner insurance policies include a clause that will cover “loss of use” or “loss of rents.” This means they will pay for a similar living arrangement, including food, clothing and shelter while you wait for your house to be made livable again. Keep in mind, they will only pay for a hotel or situation similar to what you left at home; so don’t find the most exorbitant hotel in town or you may wind up with extra costs.