If you’ve suffered a house fire, we’re here to help. Here are some tips for how to maximize the amount of your house fire claim.
1. Find Your Insurance Policies and Report Your Loss
Make sure you have a current copy of your homeowners insurance policy. If your policy was lost or destroyed in your fire, request a certified copy from your insurance carrier and notify them about your loss as soon as possible. Your mortgage holder can remind you who your insurer is, and your insurer can remind you who your agent is.
2. Ask for an Advance
An advance from your insurance company can cover immediate expenses resulting from the house fire, including funds needed to clean up and make temporary repairs like: covering the roof with a tarp to mitigate additional damage; securing the property according to fire department and building specialist guidelines; temporary housing costs; and other day-to-day expenses.
3. Take Inventory of Your Lost/Damaged Items
This is arguably the most critical step to get right in order to maximize the amount of your house fire insurance claim. Review any Proof of Loss form sent to you by your insurance agent, but don’t sign anything that suggests whatever you initially submitted indicates the full amount of your claim. It will take a while — potentially months — to inventory every item lost or damaged, so you should attempt to submit an initial Proof of Loss with an “undetermined” amount listed.
4. Get Help From Friends and Family
We recommend enlisting the following people to help you with the inventory process: friends, family, neighbors, bankers, accountant/attorney, and anyone else you trust to research the value of your lost/damaged items when they were purchased. Include photos and detailed descriptions whenever possible. Make sure you keep records and receipts of the costs you incur during the inventory process, so you can submit them as part of your overall claim. Keep track of any other costs resulting from cleanup, repairs, etc., as well as any funds your insurance company gives you, and what you used those funds for. As a general rule, you should cooperate fully with your insurance company, and keep a record of all your communications with them. Make detailed notes during all conversations, and ask that they put anything they tell you to do in writing.
5. Get Help From Professionals Who Share Your Goals
Your insurance company (and your agent) care about you and your property, but you have different financial goals in the claim process. They want to minimize the amount they give you for your claim, and you want to maximize your benefits. It can seem like a David-vs-Goliath scenario, but it doesn’t have to be. A public adjuster from Miller Public Adjusters can help you navigate the complexities of your house fire claim process, and act as a liaison between you and the insurance company. If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly during your house fire claim process, your State Insurance Commissioner can help as well.
A house fire is stressful and traumatic, but the claim process doesn’t have to be. Our public adjusters care about you, and we advocate for your financial goals. We know your property is valuable, and the memories in your home are priceless. Let us help you get the maximum amount for your claim.
Call us 24 hours a day at (866) 443-5167 to schedule an appointment or
please fill out a Free Claim Review to see if we can help.