If you’ve experienced a fire at your home, your insurance agent should be among the first people you call after you’re certain everyone in your family is safe. In fact, it’s required in your policy. Here are some tips on how to interact with your insurance company after a fire – and what you should share with them.
You can fulfill the requirement to immediately contact your insurance company by contacting your insurance agent directly or via an email. There are a number of other duties your are required to do after a fire, such as making emergency temporary repairs to mitigate further damage; documenting damaged personal property; and other duties spelled out in your policy. Click here for an example of Duties After Loss found in a typical policy.
It’s important to check your policy carefully, and familiarize yourself with the claims process. The most important step is to request a certified copy of the policy from your insurance adjuster. Typically your insurance agent will not have access to the full policy, and a certified copy of the policy is the only way to get the complete and most up-to-date version.
It’s also important to note that you can request an undisputed advance on the amount of your claim. It’s important to keep a careful record of how much the insurance company sends you in advance, what you use the money for, and all your expenses associated with repair, relocation, and rebuilding.
Organization is very important when interacting with your insurance company after a house fire. Your claim is going to require very detailed documentation of all the property damage, the replacement cost of the property at the time you purchased it, photographs of the property, and detailed descriptions of each item. It can be an overwhelming process, one that a public adjuster can help with.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with your rights as a policyholder. And if you feel like you’re being mistreated by the insurance company, it is your right to address the issue. Make your insurance adjuster aware of your concern, and if it’s not addressed to your satisfaction, ask to speak to the supervising adjuster. The other option you have is to hire a public adjuster who will work on your behalf to solve the issue.
The Additional Living Expense, or ALE coverage in your homeowners policy covers your living expenses while you’re not able to live in your home. Make sure you keep a detailed record of what you spend each day, where, and how it is related to your living expenses. While you might not be able to claim the entirety of your expenses, your insurance company will likely cover a portion of the food and lodging costs during that time.
At Miller Public Adjusters, we have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies to ensure policyholders with a claim are treated fairly. Call us today!
DOWNLOAD OUR DIY GUIDE TO RECOVERING FROM A FIRE
Decisions made and actions taken during the first six months after a fire will largely determine what kind of claim settlement you’ll receive from your insurance company.