Local fire departments respond to over 358,000 residential fires every year, and these disasters can change your life forever. In addition to structural damage, you might find yourself struggling to find important documents and prized personal possessions. While you will no doubt be in a state of shock for at least a short period of time, you need to immediately begin taking steps to restore your home as soon as the fire has been put out.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Almost all home insurance providers require their clients to notify them of residential fires as soon as reasonably possible. Even if you are not ready to begin dealing with a claims adjuster, you should still speak with your insurance company about getting an advance. An advance can help you cover some of the initial costs such as replacing your clothing and toiletries. You must also track your living expenses during that time if you have a “loss of use” clause in your insurance policy.
Assess the Damage
Assessing the damage is one of the most difficult steps in this process, and making any mistakes on your claim could end up costing you quite a bit of money. That is why all homeowners should immediately invest in a binder or folder to store all of the information regarding the fire. As you remember new possessions that were in the home or the fire department notifies you of specific damage, that information must immediately go into the folder.
Account for Personal Belongings
Your home insurance most likely includes a clause regarding personal possessions that are damaged in a fire. Unlike the structural damage that will be assessed by the claims adjuster or an inspector, you will most likely need to estimate the price of your personal possessions that were lost. You should begin with some of the more expensive items that you had in your home including your furniture and appliances. Many of the smaller items like your clothing and decorations will most likely be lumped into a single payment from the insurance company.
Speak With a Fire Restoration Specialist
Depending on the severity of the fire, you might prefer to work with a fire restoration specialist instead of having your home completely rebuilt. Some companies, like Icon Property, know that many homeowners must speak with a variety of contractors to determine if it will be more economical to rebuild or restore. Most homes can be restored if the fire didn’t damage any of the key structural components such as the foundation or load-bearing walls.
Once you are finally able to move back into your home, you want to be absolutely sure that your family will remain safe in the coming years. You must install new smoke alarms and fire detectors throughout your home and then test them as often as possible. You should also have an escape plan in place so that your family knows exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.