Fire losses are often the most devastating occurrences that can happen to a family or business. Download our FREE E-BOOK about what to expect and do to recover from a fire loss. Fire damage requires important short-term decisions from individuals that are under a tremendous amount of stress and confusion. Unfortunately, our fire claim adjusters see many mistakes being made regarding how to handle a restoration company or what contracts to sign. These can have lasting consequences on what you recover from your fire insurance claim.
Everything you do at that moment in time is critical. You must understand the problem you have in order to begin picking up the pieces of your life. You will have to go through this problem whether you like it or not; it is not something you can escape from. The question will be whether or not you and your family will fully recover from your disaster. That’s where we can help.
Call the fire department! Even if you think the fire is minor, contact 911 and report your fire. Your safety and the preservation of your property is critical. Small fires that seem innocent enough and are quickly put out can still cause significant damage. You may not realize there are toxic fumes, explosive gas, smoke, and other dangers associated with a fire. Also, the fire marshal’s investigation report will be critical to your insurance claim.
Secure your property. You will undoubtedly be approached by emergency services companies that respond almost as fast as the fire department. While it is important to take steps to secure your property, be careful of what you sign. Make sure that you are only authorizing the “board up” service and not the full restoration of the property.
After securing the safety of your family or employees, contact your insurance company. It is critical to promptly inform your insurance company of your loss. From here the insurance claim process will unfold. You will need to photograph and/or video damage, make a list of all the items you lost, get repair/replacement estimates, and gather and keep all receipts for your temporary living expenses. You will also need to continue paying your insurance premiums and mortgage throughout the claim process.
If you or a resident of your home has health sensitivities such as allergies or asthma, alert your adjuster right away. Mold and soot inside your home, if not eliminated, can irritate people with respiratory problems. After a partial loss, you can (and should) seek payment from your insurer for mold, smoke, soot and odor mitigation.
Depending on the extent of the fire damages, you may need various contractors, engineers, architects, and other specialists to assist in the preparation of your property’s restoration. This is where using our public adjusting services can be so vital to your outcome. We bring years of experience and expertise to the process to ensure that you are returned to pre-loss condition.
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Smoke (& Soot) damage is a covered peril in almost all homeowner’s policies. Your insurance company will most likely pay for cleaning smoke and ash, but disputes often arise over cleaning versus replacing items that have been exposed to smoke and odor. Once in the ventilation system, smoke and soot can damage items throughout the house and require costly professional cleaning and restoration
It is also very important to have the entire HVAC system of your home cleaned out. You can access some parts of the system and clean by hand, but a professional should do the rest.
Your adjuster may tell you that it is sufficient for you to wipe surfaces yourself, and that a deep cleaning is not necessary. The cleaning/drying process can be expensive when it’s done right, so insurance companies have developed ways to control their payouts for this work. You must stand firm and reject shortcuts and improper cleaning.
If you have contents coverage, it is your responsibility to document your losses and prove ownership through receipts, photographs, and other means. This can be very challenging depending on the type and extent of damage. No matter what the adjuster tells you, do not throw anything away until you have reviewed your policy with an outside, unbiased expert. Our contents recovery team does a thorough inventory of every single item that was affected by working with you to fill in the blanks. We then put that inventory into the proper format for your insurance company, including all required documentation and replacement value, ensuring a full and speedy recovery. We also provide storage and cleaning services for contents and clothing/linens. Fees for this service are billed to the insurer.
Your home or business is the most important thing to you, but not as important to anyone else. Corporations certainly have no heart. You are now in a place you are unfamiliar with. You are greatly disadvantaged at the worst possible time when everything is on the line. You're forced to deal with the circumstance and ultimately will live in the future past this claim. Your decisions good or bad will be yours. Do not live in regret; seek competent help.