What Should Homeowners Do After Fire Damage?
One of the most seriously devastating things to happen to any family and/or property is fire damage. To make matters worse, in an attempt to save money, corners are constantly cut on fire insurance claims by insurance companies. Homes are completely destroyed, and personal belongings lost forever in fires. Getting a hard time on your insurance claim from the insurance company through which you have your homeowner's policy is the absolute last thing you need!
To add insult to injury, however, even moderate fires cannot be put out without copious amounts of water. That's going to mean water damage to your belongings and in/on your home. It's not the fault of the fire department, of course. They did everything they could to save your home but had to use a lot of water to do so.
How can you keep headaches to a minimum where fire damage is concerned? Here are a few tips.
Check Your Policy Before the Unthinkable Occurs
Does your homeowner's insurance have "replacement coverage"? Your policy may only stipulate that for the personal items lost, you can get nothing more than the actual cash value. You may choose to opt for a replacement policy, particularly if the things in your home have aged.
Here's an example: You may only get $25 for your tired, old living room set on Craigslist – because that's all it's really worth – but it's going to cost you many times that to replace it.
Is The Condition of Your Property Secure?
You may be required by your homeowner's coverage policy, in order to minimize property damage or harm, to take reasonable steps. This is referred to as a duty to mitigate damage, in short terms. It's relatively easy to do through small steps as in the following scenario: If you find a massive pipe burst, turn off the water and/or cover areas around the leak with plastic wrap. It seems like common sense, more or less, but it's going to make a big difference.
Are You Watching Your Living Expenses?
A “loss of use clause” is included in the homeowner's policies. That means that while you're out of your home, you are entitled to adequate living expense reimbursement. This does, however, only apply to additional living expenses such as the difference between what it's costing you to live somewhere now and what it would have cost you to live in your home, ordinarily.
Say you’re spending $400 a week while eating most of your meals at home. But now with the house fire, you’re spending $500 a week because you are eating out more often. The additional $100 spent is the only thing you'll be able to claim.
Have a Claim? File It Right Away!
Once your home has been damaged by a fire, do not hesitate to file your claim. In fact, this could well be a requirement of your insurance holder. Put a call into your agent as soon as possible. They will likely ask for a "proof of loss claim". This is where you'll list the value of each thing you lost in an itemized manner. You may not receive a claim adjuster in expedited fashion if you wait a long time to file your claim.
Quick Action Is Important
Most often, along with fire damage comes water damage. The important thing to remember here is that reaction time should be as timely as possible. The longer water damage sits unattended, the more problems will arise, including toxic mold and decay. We, at SERVPRO, have experts who understand that, when dealing with fire and water damage, time is of the essence. To formulate a plan to solve your water and fire damage problems according to your precise to your needs, work with our team of professionals.