If your family has experienced a house fire or similar loss, here’s some pointers about what to do after a house fire immediately and in the long term.
1. File Your Claim
You are expected to notify your insurer quickly after experiencing a loss. You should not wait to file your claim in writing. Once the insurer is aware of the loss they will assign an insurance adjuster to assess the extent of the damage and determine how much the insurance company may be responsible to cover.
If the loss is sizable, including an extended stay away from your home, lost belongings, and structural damage; you might want to consider working with a public adjuster or fire insurance claims lawyer like www.vosslawfirm.com.
2. Secure Your Property
Once you’ve been given permission to re-enter the property by the fire department, you are expected to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. The insurance company might do this themselves, but if they are not acting swiftly, there are few things you should consider in the meantime:
- Covering an open roof with a tarp to prevent exposure or leaks;
- Boarding up doors and windows to prevent vandalism, squatting, and looting;
- Fencing off the property;
- Turning off the electricity (if it’s still on) to avoid further damage; and
- Turning off the water to avoid a burst pipe.
Typically, the insurer will help cover these costs – so make sure you keep receipts and submit them as soon as possible.
You should also take this opportunity to remove any belongings that can be salvaged, as they are at risk of theft. The insurance company will typically want to do this themselves, so talk to them first, and take detailed photos and information about anything you remove yourself.
3. Keep Track of Your Living Expenses
When you no longer have the use of your home, your insurance policy will cover additional living expenses such as rental costs, additional food costs, storage, and additional transportation costs. Keep and organize your receipts and keep track of all your spending.
4. Revise Your Insurance for the Recovery Period
During the structural repair period, you may want to adjust your home insurance to reflect the new reality of the property. You will have to keep paying home insurance premiums because there is still a risk of further damage. Vandals, squatters, looters, and the weather still pose a threat that could increase the extent of the loss. Try not to fret though as most restoration companies work with insurance companies on a daily basis. This insurance restoration process really helps to decrease the time you spend out of your home.
However, you may no longer have personal belongings on the property. If all personal items were lost in the fire your contents insurance can be drastically reduced until you start replacing the items. If some items remain in storage you should verify what type of coverage is available to you.
There may be other types of insurance you need during the recovery period, such as liability insurance or insurance to protect building materials. Be sure to check out great options like Myrtle Beach Home Insurance and others for help.
5. Upgrade Insurance to Reflect Renovations
If you’ve renovated your home or had to upgrade materials in your home due to updated bylaws, your new home insurance policy after the repair period should reflect the new replacement costs of the structure.
You can consider upgrades that reduce your insurance premiums if you want to minimize the impact of renovations on your premiums. These can include storm windows, water shutoff devices, and upgraded roofing to make your home more resilient against water damage, weather, and wildfires.
Follow these steps and you can make the insurance claims process as painless as possible.