After a house fire, it is important that you begin fire restoration as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the home. Depending on the extent of damage from the fire, smoke and water, the structure of the home may have sustained substantial damages, including electrical hazards that can pose a danger to you and your family. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact an experienced fire damage contractor to handle the restoration. It is also important to contact your homeowners insurance to discuss your policy and the available insurance repairs. Losing your home and your personal belongings is a devastating experience and the last thing you want is to get a hard time from the insurance company. So, here are some tips to follow when dealing with your homeowner's insurance company regarding fire insurance claims.
Make a List
One of the first things you need to do is make a list of everything you lost in the fire. It may be difficult, but the sooner you start the list, the easier it will be to remember the items that have been lost and it will make the process of filing the insurance claim go much smoother.
Do Not Throw Anything Away
Do not enter the property or the home until the fire department has approved entry. Once you are in the home, one of the first things many people want to do is start throwing away the items that have been ruined by the fire, smoke or water. The insurance adjuster may need to see these items in order to include them in the coverage, so do not throw anything away. If you list items that the adjuster does not see, your insurance company may refuse to compensate you.
Ask for an Advance
If you forced to evacuate the home due to the dangerous conditions, you may not have had an opportunity to grab some essentials, such as clothing and/or toiletries. Some or all of these items may have even been destroyed in the fire. First, do not panic, call your insurance agent and ask for an advance against the ultimate fire claim. In many situations, the insurance company will arrange to have a check brought to you so you can purchase some items you may need, such as work clothes. The advance will be deducted from the total amount of the claim that you receive from the insurance company.
File the Claims Right Away
The majority of insurance policies require the policyholder to file their fire insurance claims as soon as possible, so call your homeowner's insurance agent immediately. The insurance company will require a proof of loss claim, which includes all of the items you lost in the fire, including their value. Your claim will include the following information:
- Date of incident and the type of loss or damage (fire, smoke and/or water)
- Address of the damage
- Any injuries related to the fire
- All parties involved
- Condition of your home
- Description of the contents that were damaged
- Whether or not temporary repairs may be necessary
- A police report and/or report from the fire department
Some insurance providers may recommend damaged contractors that specialize in insurance repairs and fire restoration, such as ones from a company like Nordic Services Inc. You have the option of contacting the recommended company or someone else. It is important to contact the fire restoration company as soon as possible in order for them to start cleaning up.