No one should have to deal with the trauma of a house fire. But if your house burns down, expert advice can help. Here are some of the first things you should do.
- Find temporary housing. It will likely be unsafe, if not impossible, to stay in your own home after a fire. Make a list of friends and family who you know will provide a safe, stable environment for you to get back on your feet. If that’s not an option, the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and similar disaster relief agencies are likely to have a variety of resources that can help you find affordable or donated temporary housing.
- Call your insurance agent. Even though it’s difficult to think about all the things you need to do when coping with the trauma of a house fire, starting an insurance claim is an absolute must when it comes to first steps on the road to recovery. Starting a claim will help you address the immediate needs you’ll have after your house burns down—such as living expenses and other day-to-day needs.
For more information, look for the ‘loss of use’ funds provision in your insurance policy, and ask your insurance agent for help. It’s important to remember to keep ALL receipts if an advance on your claim (or ‘loss of use’ funds) is granted. Along with these funds, your insurance agent can help you secure your property and offer advice on how to restore and clean items and property you can salvage, recommendations for cleaning up or restoring salvageable items.
- Make solid financial plans. Your policy should cover your mortgage and the value of your home, and payments will be made accordingly, both to you and your mortgage lender. Don’t forget to pay the bank first. Then you can use leftover funds to save for rebuilding your home, or buying a new one. If your credit cards were damaged in the house fire, make sure you cancel them with the bank (and order new ones) as soon as you can.
- Recover your possessions. Your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover items destroyed in a house fire. If you have a replacement cost policy, you’ll receive the actual cash value of your damaged items at the time of settlement [Replacement Cost – Depreciation = Actual Cash Value]. It’s possible to recover the replacement cost with an accurate inventory that includes cost at purchase, date of purchase, and as detailed of a description as you can provide of the property (including images whenever possible).
Hopefully you’ll have a chance to familiarize yourself with your insurance policy before major damage (such as fire) turns your life upside down. But if the unthinkable happens, you’re not alone. We can help get you back on track. Talk to one of our qualified, caring Public Adjusters today.