Answers to the Questions Most Commonly Asked by Owners of Burned Houses
If you have suffered a house fire in 2021 chances are you have some questions – probably a lot of them.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning house fires in 2021.
Question #1 – What should I do first after a house fire?
The first thing you should do after everyone is safe is call your insurance agent.
One requirement of all insurance policies is that the policyholder must promptly notify the company in the event of a fire so that its representatives can inspect all damaged property.
So as soon as possible after your fire, contact your insurance agent. When speaking with your agent either on the phone or in person you should also request a certified copy of your insurance policy.
Question #2 – Are there benefits to reporting a claim early as opposed to waiting?
Yes, there are a number of benefits to reporting your claim early, including:
- It fosters a sense of cooperation between you and your insurance agent (and the company he works for)
- Reporting a claim gets the process moving so that it can be paid out as quickly as possible
- It helps prevent the insurance company from arguing later that a delayed claim jeopardized their rights or led to a slow claims process
Question #3 – What should I do about the physical burned house itself?
You need to secure the property. That means:
- Notify local police that your home is vacant to help prevent looting and break-ins.
- You may also need to hire a board-up/mitigation company to pump out water, board-up openings and otherwise ensure that your property does not suffer additional damage. Depending on the level of damage, you may be able to handle this yourself – you could cover a damages area with a tarp or board up an opening.
Question #4 – Submit a Proof of Loss (if required)
If your insurance policy requires you to submit a proof of loss, you should do so as soon as possible. Keep in mind:
- Not all adjusters require a proof of loss but if they do it is a very important document
- Proof of Loss is a form but if you prefer you can submit a written notarized statement
- Be sure to include all claim documentation that a Proof of Loss is requiring be submitted with it
- Make sure you understand the time limit for Proof of Loss submission as set forth in your insurance policy.
Question #5 – Just how frustrating is the claims process?
It can be pretty frustrating – the key is to remain patient and to keep track of everything so that if any questions arise you have the answers.
What does keep track of everything mean? For one thing, it means keeping copies of all receipts, bills and contracts. You should also document all living expenses and any matters that come up regarding your house fire or the claims process.
Keep all this information in one easy-to-access place. Don’t trust your insurance agent to take care of things for you or to keep track of all the paperwork.
You should also do these additional things:
- Take your own photographs of your damaged home and the damaged property inside it. You should also take photos as repairs are made.
- Take notes and keep them whenever you talk to your insurance agent, the adjuster or anyone else involved in the process
Question #6 – Should I accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company?
Please keep in mind that the trauma of having a house damaged in a fire and the stress of the tedious and often lengthy claims process can cause many to accept their insurance company’s first settlement offer just to have the entire ordeal over with.
Don’t make this mistake! Here are some things to consider before accepting a settlement:
- Whenever a home is damaged by a fire additional damage, that went unnoticed before, can often be discovered during the repair process
- Depreciation guidelines are not set in stone, they can be negotiated. So if your claim settlement is lowered due to depreciation you may want to see what is possible before accepting the offer
- A claims adjuster’s opinion on damages is just that – an opinion. You can offer a contractor’s opinion in rebuttal.
In other words, don’t just accept the first offer. Be careful and patient and weigh all of your options before proceeding.
Question #7 – How should I go about finding a contractor to fix the fire damage?
To find a good contractor to complete the repairs to your fire damaged house you can take advantage of several free resources that are available to you.
For one thing, you can conduct extensive searches online. The contractor may have a website and there may also be websites for your area that contain contractor reviews and ratings.
You should also speak to friends and relatives and see if they have recommendations – many may have had home improvement projects completed by a contractor in the past.
Another option you have is to talk to your insurance agent. He or she may be familiar with contractors in your area and may be able to recommend some for you to interview.
However, don’t just go with an agent’s recommendation. You should still do your due diligence and interview the contractor or contractors that were recommended.
The bottom line is to be sure to conduct an exhaustive contractor search – when it comes to successfully repairing a fire damaged house your selection of the right contractor is critical.
Question #8 – Is there a way to skip the stress and frustration that can come with repairing a fire-damaged house in 2021?
Yes, you can sell your home to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.
Who are we? We are the #1 nationwide fire damaged buyers.
The truth is you may be very surprised at just how valuable your property is. We specialize in uncovering the true potential of a variety of home types – including those damaged by fire.
You could then use the cash you receive from us along with your insurance settlement to finance your dream home!
Just fill out the short form below to see if your burned house qualifies for a free quote.