While the number of house fires decreased in the latest statistics released by the U.S. Fire Administration …
The number of deaths and the financial losses from house fires both increased significantly.
In the statistics which cover house fires that occurred in 2019 and compare them to results from 2010:
– The number of fires decreased by 3.2% from the number recorded in 2010. The total number of house fires in 2019 was 1,291,500.
– Deaths from house fires in 2019 were 3,704 – that was an increase of 24.1% from 2010.
– By far the biggest area of increase from earlier house fire numbers though was the financial loss that they created. Total loss reached a whopping $14.8 billion in 2019. This was a 74.5% increase from what was reported back in 2010.
– In one other key area – injuries resulting from house fires – the number of injuries in 2019 decreased by 12.5% from 2010 and totaled 16,600.
Here is some more interesting data from USFA:
– The leading cause of residential fires in 2019 was cooking with heating second, carelessness third and electrical fourth.
– The leading cause of house fires that resulted in one or more fatalities was carelessness, however.
The statistics are created by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), which collects house fire data from a variety of sources to provide information and analyses on the status and scope of the fire problem in the United States.
Have you been the victim of a house fire?
Of course, if you have been the victim of a house fire knowing that you are one of more than a million may be of little consolation.
The good news is if you have suffered a house fire or own a property that was damaged by house fire insurance companies are more responsive today than ever before.
The first thing you should do if you have suffered a house fire is to call your insurance agent. Most companies now have a toll-free, 24/7 hotline that you can call.
Calling your agent will set off the claims process so it’s important that you do this as soon as possible following a house fire.
After reporting the fire to your insurance agent, you will also, after things have calmed down a little, want to schedule a face-to-face meeting with the agent to go over your claim.
Here are some tips for that meeting:
Choose a Time that Best Suits You
If you are better in the morning or later in the afternoon, schedule the meeting for that time. Don’t adjust to the agent’s schedule make him or her adjust to yours. You are the aggrieved party here and should be treated as such.
This mainly means you should read your insurance policy closely. Pay particular attention to the Conditions section so that you sure to meet all necessary conditions for coverage and claim settlement.
Ensure You Won’t Be Disturbed
If you are meeting on the phone, be sure to find a location where you won’t be disturbed or your cellphone connection won’t drop out. If it’s possible, use a landline to avoid being cut off at a crucial point.
We would recommend sitting quietly in your study with a note pad and paper but if the call takes place during working hours and there truly is no other alternative, you could go and sit in the remote corner of a parking lot. You require focus and concentration throughout the call. Avoid intrusive background noise – switch off the radio and television and close your internet browser – it’s too easy to absent mindedly begin searching online for some random update on your favorite celebrity. Stay focused.
Answer the Questions
Be sure to answer any questions honestly and also be sure to ask questions as well – such as what the exact settlement process will be? How long will it take? Is there anything you should do to speed it up? Are there any surprises that could occur? Things like that.
‘Don’t Take That Tone of Voice With Me!’
One more thing to watch during the meeting is your tone of voice. Tone of voice can make the vital difference between things going smoothly and things becoming more difficult and confrontational.
Speak clearly, convey energy and express enthusiasm in your tone. One technique suggested for telephone meetings is to reflect the pace of voice of the person you are talking to. The idea is that if they adopt a reserved and softly spoken approach, you should try and mirror that tone while reinforcing your position.
But while this may be a useful technique it is also essential to reflect a professional approach and tone that is natural to you.
After the initial meeting with the agent, you’ll need to continue on with the claims process. Additional steps to complete include:
Have the house inspected by a licensed third party professional
You should have a professional inspector who has experience looking at fire-damaged houses look at your home. An experienced professional can spot damage that is not easily visible to the untrained eye.
Decide whether to repair the damage or sell the house
After the house is inspected you can use the inspector’s findings to decide whether to repair the house or to sell it.
One more thing: when considering the house fire damage to your residence, don’t make the mistake of only focusing on visible structural damage.
Another major source of house damage from a fire is smoke damage.
The truth is long after a fire is gone, smoke pollution can linger in a home.
This is not good because prolonged exposure to smoke can lead to:
- Respiratory Issues – unfortunately, small smoke particles can become embedded in carpet and furniture and breathing them in over time can result in breathing issues and even more serious conditions like lung cancer.
- Skin Damage – smoke residue can also irritate your skin and often the irritation can become so severe that regular skin lotion is not enough to get rid of it.
- Eye Irritation – left over smoke particles can cause red, watery, itchy eyes and if left untreated more serious damage could occur.
As a result of all of this, you will need to hire a professional who is trained and experienced in ridding a house of smoke and smoke residue. Your – and your family’s – good health depends on it.
If you decide to repair the damage, hire a contractor
Selecting the right contractor is essential to successfully repairing a fire-damaged house. Be prepared to get multiple recommendations from friends and acquaintances and to interview them so that you can find the best, most qualified candidate.
If you decide to sell, consider selling to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses
One way to simplify the sales process and receive top value for your home is to sell it to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses. Our company specializes in buying houses damaged by fire. We buy them in “as is” condition – meaning you don’t have to make any costly repairs.
We also pay all cash so you can get your money fast. To see if your house qualifies for a free quote, fill out the short form below.