What to do After a House Fire
Fire Insurance: What to Do When the Smoke Clears
Experiencing a house fire is a traumatizing event but knowing what to do afterward will help ease the stress and burden.
Here is what you need to know in order to get the insurance reimbursement for your personal property and cost of living expenses so that you can start to get your life back on track!
Consider Safety First
Never enter your home until the fire department clears it and gives you permission to do so. If your utilities (electricity, water, etc.) have been shut off, don’t attempt to turn them back on. If you have to leave your home, it is a good idea to contact the police department to let them know the house will be vacant.
If possible, retrieve vital documents such as your driver’s license, passport, birth certificates, military records, and vehicle registration card.
Do not give out any personal information to or sign any contracts with anyone except local law enforcement in relation to your house fire.
Call Your Insurance Agency
As soon as possible, call your insurance agent so they can advise you of the important next steps to take in the hours and days immediately following the fire. Some of those steps may include:
- Securing the premises by boarding up windows and setting up a fence
- Disaster cleanup which may include pumping out water and removing hazards
- Hiring a professional home inspector
Your agent will also help you secure short-term housing, document your losses, and obtain reimbursement for expenses.
Secure Short-Term Housing
Chances are, even after a small fire, you will need to secure short-term housing until cleanup and inspections are completed.
Don’t forget about your pets. Some hotel accommodations allow pets but if not, ask friends or family to take them for you temporarily. Another option is to use a pet daycare or boarding home. Even your local Humane Society may be able to assist you.
Purchase Everyday Items
Your insurance agency will give you a check in order to purchase immediate food, clothing, and toiletry needs for your family. Keep receipts (and copies of receipts) for everything that you buy as they will need to be submitted to your agent.
Document Your Losses
Your insurance agency will send a claims adjuster to your home to value the losses that occurred in the fire. He or she will likely take photos to document and complete an inventory. Afterward, the adjuster will determine a fair replacement cost for the damaged and lost items.
Once a claim has been opened on your home, it may take a few months for the entire process to be completed. However, with patience, a settlement will be reached to obtain fair reimbursement for your loss.
For more information regarding homeowner insurance or what to do after you experience a fire, contact Taylor-Moore Agency.