Perhaps nothing could be more alarming than seeing your home literally go up in smoke. It’s where you and your family live, and a home is also your nest egg, representing your financial long-term security.
Depending on the extent of the damage, things like heirlooms or family mementoes may be irretrievably damaged or destroyed. But your home insurance can save the day. Do not feel like everything is lost!
Here’s a look at what you need to do following a house fire to help streamline your insurance claim.
Before you do anything else, ensure everyone is safely out of the home. Do not try to be a hero, though. The firefighters and paramedics should be at the scene to help with any injuries and contain the damage.
You will not be able to re-enter your home until a fire inspector says it’s OK. Depending on the size of the fire, this could vary considerably. It could be days, weeks, or months.
Document for Insurance
As soon as re-entry is safe and you are over the initial shock, document the damage caused by the fire fully and accurately. This means taking pictures and videos. The more evidence you have of the damage, the more likely you are to get it compensated by insurance.
If the home is not habitable, as is often the case, keep receipts of any additional living expenses related to the fire, such as hotel bills, takeout, emergency clothing, and even toiletries.
Sadly, having home insurance does not guarantee that you will get fully compensated for your losses or get enough advanced funds needed to pay for living expenses. Dealing with a reluctant insurance company can be like salt in the wounds; the very last time you’ll want to negotiate with a company is in the aftermath of an emotional, devastating loss to your home!
Insurance lawyers can help you get the most from your fire insurance policy while also streamlining the process. The leading insurance lawyers have lots of experience negotiating settlements and can push back against the first numbers you receive. They can also force the process to move forward if your insurance company refuses to communicate or make payments.
They understand that insurance is a negotiation and also understand the fine print. It’s natural for people inexperienced in insurance to struggle to maximize their claims, especially when dealing with a catastrophic, emotional loss.
Stress and Anxiety
Fires do more than just physical damage. It is natural to feel considerable stress and anxiety in the wake of a disaster. Hopefully, you have a tight circle of friends you can draw on or other forms of community support.
It helps to have an insurance lawyer who understands first-hand what it’s like to experience this type of loss. Their sensitivities will make the claims process smoother, and they can advocate more effectively on your behalf to get compensation for physical damages.
Just because you suffered a home fire does not mean your life has gone up in smoke, even if it may feel that way at first. Remember the above advice, and your response should help you and your family get back on your feet in no time.
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