Guide On What To Do After Fire Damages Your Home
If you are a homeowner, suffering a fire is a devastating situation to go through. The overwhelming task of cleanup is daunting enough, but there is also the complexity and time-consuming process of insurance recovery. We have composed this guide to help you with what to do after a fire loss to your home:
Have Your Insurance Policy Handy
If you have already reported the claim, you are entitled to a copy of your entire policy with all forms and endorsements. These are all critical docs we will need to review your file. If you do not have access to this document, don’t worry, United Public Adjusters will create urgency with the insurance company to attain the policy on your behalf.
Review your insurance policy to see if you have coverages for dwelling, contents, and loss of use. The most important coverage after a fire is loss of use coverage as this coverage provides payment for temporary housing if your home is not livable (hotel and short-term housing during the period of restoration).
Loss of Use Coverage also provides payment for additional expenses as you be paying (2) utility bills (your own home plus the rental) and the insurance company owes you for any extra monies above your normal expenses. This coverage also would provide payment for additional expenses above your normal as it relates to food as many hotels don’t have a kitchen which means you will be eating out more than you did before.
For contents and dwelling coverage, you want to know whether you have Replacement Cost Coverage or Actual Cash Value Coverage.
If you have replacement cost coverage, the insurance company owes you for what it costs to repair or replace your damaged possessions. Example: If your TV was damaged and it cost $1,000.00 to replace it, but the life expectancy of the TV was 10 years and it was 5 years old. The insurance company would owe you the Actual cash value now of $500 as they are applying 50% in depreciation. Since you have replacement cost coverage, if you went out and purchased a new TV for $1,000.00, you would be entitled to recover that $500 in depreciation once you show the insurance company your replacement invoice.
Actual Cash Value
If you don’t have replacement cost coverage, the insurance company will only pay you the Actual Cash value as you will never be able to collect the depreciation. This also applies to your building damages (sheetrock, electrical, paint, plumbing, etc.). If you did recent renovations, you want to make it known to ensure the insurance company doesn’t apply a high depreciation which only reduces your Actual Cash value owed to you now.
Fire, Smoke, Soot
Many older homes are of balloon framed construction which means that smoke and soot will find its way behind the walls and travel through the open framing. Some insurance companies may not be familiar with construction which means they will try to clean walls meanwhile the walls may have to be removed in order to clean and deodorize the wall framing as the soot is behind the closed walls.
With any damage claim, you must take a ton of pictures and videos all throughout the process. This is very important as it relates to personal property damages as you have to show the insurance company physical damages by water, fire or soot or they may question why the item should be replaced.
You will have to inventory all of the personal property damages as the insurance company will want a detailed spreadsheet that has the quantity, description, cost to replace (today’s cost, not when you bought it), and age (for depreciation purposes). This may seem overwhelming, but United Public Adjusters specializes in detailed inventories so that you don’t have to deal with ANY spreadsheets and sift through damaged debris.
The Value of a Public Adjuster + FREE CONSULTATION
There are many more tips, but we believe the above tips are the basic ones for a homeowner to quickly understand the initial phases of understanding how insurance claims are handled. Don’t worry, you don’t have to face the chaos of recovery or insurance claims alone. Contact United Public Adjusters today! We handle the whole process so that you don’t have to! From damage valuation to putting the claim together, negotiation, and ensuring fair settlement; we’ve got you covered. Did you know, we do not charge any fees unless we recover insurance funds on your behalf. We offer no-obligation, free claim reviews. Contact us today to get the help you deserve! Even if you already contacted the insurance company, it’s not too late. Click here to schedule your Free Claim Review!