No matter where you live or the age and condition of your home, there is always the chance that a fire could occur at any time and for any number of reasons. Few homeowners are prepared for the consequences when a fire occurs, which can be financially devastating.  you must act quickly to follow these steps to reduce your loss and maximize the value of your insurance claim.

1. File a Home Insurance Claim

If your home or business has had a fire, filing an insurance claim as quickly as possible is crucial for several reasons. Filing the claim begins after the loss is reported. 

 Upon filing a fire damage claim, your insurance company will want to see any proof of the damaged home or business and contents.  Your insurance company will send out its adjuster and investigators to view the damages and decide how much and when your claim may get paid out.

2. Document Losses

After filing a fire damage claim, the next most crucial thing you need to do is to document all the damage that occurred.

Take photos and videos of your home or business as well as the contents that were destroyed. These photos and videos can be used later in the home insurance claims process. If you have receipts for anything that has been damaged or destroyed, make sure you get those immediately.  You should also track your additional expenses such as alternative lodging, meals, etc.. as many insurance policies provide coverage for Additional Living Expense

3. Verify Your Home Insurance Coverage

Before meeting with the insurance company’s adjuster, you will want to know what coverages and limits you have available.

Dwelling coverage: This coverage insures the physical dwelling structure of your home.

Contents Coverage:  This coverage held to pay to repair or replace your personal belongings damaged by the fire, helps protect things like electronics, clothes, furniture, clothing, and other household items.

Additional Living Expense: This coverage helps to pay for living expenses if your home is deemed uninhabitable and you must temporarily move out while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Examples of expenses that may be covered are things like a hotel or equivalent rental property, storage facilities, gas, and food that you wouldn’t have otherwise paid for if you were still able to live in your home.

4. Get Multiple Repair Estimates

Insurance companies often have companies that can provide them with estimates.  But when it comes time to rebuild your home, you may find that your rebuilding costs are much higher than what your insurance company paid.  For that reason, you want to make sure that you have obtained several estimates from contractors that would repair your home.  You want to make sure you’re getting quality estimates and work for the price.

Additionally, if you’ve had custom work completed in your home, you may want to get an additional estimate from the contracting company that completed it or a specialized contractor with proper knowledge of how much it will cost to repair or rebuild it.

5. Prepare To Meet With the Adjuster

You know your home better than anyone else. Make sure you meet the insurance adjuster at your home when he wants to inspect the damage at your home.

Keep notes about your meetings and conversations with the adjuster.  You will want to document the process so that if a dispute arises you will have evidence in support of your position. For example, if an adjuster comments on the inspection, it is a good idea to confirm the statement in writing.    

6. Ask for an Advance on the Claim

After a fire, policyholders face many expenses that they were not expecting.  You can ask your insurance company for an advance on the claim.  Insurance companies will often pay a portion of your claim which can help ease the financial burden.

After all, you still have expenses such as your mortgage that you have to pay and you now have additional expenses.

Summary

A fire is a horrible experience for homeowners and business owners. However, with a planned response you can help reduce the harm to yourself and your family.

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