There are many steps to take immediately after your home has been burned down. insurance companies will expect you to act quickly and do whatever is necessary to mitigate further damage. Here are some tips we recommend to our clients who have been victims of a fire in their home.
Ask your insurance company for an advance: Depending on how and when the fire started, you may not have had a chance to save anything and need essential items like toiletries and clothes. You should be able to request an advance from your insurance company to cover these items. be sure to keep all receipts for your purchases and be reasonable in your purchase items. It’s best to shop for clothes as you normally would, which means don’t buy an extravagant wardrobe.
mitigate further damage to your property: Insurance companies expect you to do your due diligence to protect your property from further damage. For example, suppose the fire brought down a wall and you know a storm is coming. in that case, the insurance company will expect you to put up flood tarps on the undamaged portions of your home. professional mitigation contractors can perform these services, including window and door decking to prevent further damage to the structure. but you will also need to check the property regularly to ensure no other damage is sustained.
File your insurance claim right away – We understand this is a stressful time, but insurance companies expect you to report a home fire right away. You will be asked to submit a “Proof of Loss Claim” which must include a list of all your losses and the value of the items. delayed notification of home fires raises red flags with insurance adjusters and only makes the process of obtaining compensation more difficult.
Any communication with the insurance company should be documented, so keep all emails, texts, and letters. take notes of phone conversations, including the date, time, and names of people you talk to about the claim. Please keep original copies of all repair documentation, such as invoices, estimates, invoices, and contracts for repair work.
Document your daily living expenses if you cannot live at home: You should be entitled to living expenses through your policy’s “loss of use” clause, which covers additional expenses incurred by not being able to live in your home. however, this does not mean that you can live large. this clause only covers the difference that it costs you to live abroad instead of living at home. For example, let’s say you have a remote job that requires you to have high-speed internet, but the hotel you’re staying in charges a premium for high-speed internet access. his internet costs $80 per month at home, and the hotel charges $100 per month. would not be eligible to receive $100; instead, you would get $20 for the difference in cost.
Even if you’re lucky enough to stay with friends or family, you could argue that they should be compensated for hosting you. after all, they probably also have a rent or a mortgage.
hire an independent appraiser; You don’t have to accept the insurance adjuster’s numbers at face value. You can hire an independent estimator who has experience building and working with insurance companies. You are entitled to fair compensation, and that includes what a buyer would have paid for your home before the damage.
Don’t stop paying your insurance premiums: If your home was partially damaged, you still need liability protection. Even if the structure is a total loss, you still want to protect yourself wherever you currently live. still, you can ask your insurance agent to lower your coverage for the structure.