What to do after a house fire.
A house fire can be one of the most devastating events to occur in the life of a homeowner. In an attempt to save money, insurance companies will actively look for ways to penny-pinch fire insurance claims. It is likely you have lost a tremendous amount of personal belongings and have suffered a substantial amount of mental anguish. You don’t need an insurance company giving you grief about your claim. Here are a few tips that you can proactively implement in the event of a fire loss.
Review your policy
You may have replacement coverage for you home, but it may only be for “actual cash value” for your lost personal items. Upon contacting your insurance company, the agent should be able to tell you about this and may suggest purchasing an endorsement to ensure that your personal belongs will, in fact be covered under a replacement policy.
Secure Your Property
Most homeowner’s coverage policies require the insured to make reasonable efforts to minimize secondary damage to their property. Without getting overly complicated, this is what is known as your duty to mitigate damages. These are usually simple items such as covering exposed areas with plastic or shutting off the water main in the event of a burst pipe. It is likely that you will be reimbursed for any expense incurred when you start your claim.
Immediately File Your Claim.
All homeowner policies require that you report the damage as soon as possible. Your first step is to submit a “proof of loss” claim to your agent. This document will consist of an itemized list your losses and the value of each item. The longer you put off this step, the longer it will take your insurance company to send an adjuster to address your claim.
Record Your Living Expenses
All homeowner’s policies contain a “loss of use” clause which entitles the insured to be reimbursed for additional living expenses incurred while their home is uninhabitable. Be mindful that these expenses only include additional living expenses, meaning the difference between your normal expenses and what it is costing your while you are kept from your home. An example of this would be If your families normal food budget is $600, but due to your circumstance, your family spends $750 in a week by going out to eat, you can claim that additional $150.
Fire damage remediation is a long process, and navigating your insurance can prove to be difficult without the correct knowledge. Regardless of if you have experienced a small kitchen fire or a complete burn down, you will need an experienced restoration company to help assess the damage. SERVPRO of NW Portland is ready when fire strikes, 24/7. Our team of highly trained, IIRC certified professionals see this every day. Let us be your partner in the road to recovery. Call us today. 503-283-3658. We are always here to help.