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How to Obtain Short-Term Housing After a House Fire

How to Obtain Short-Term Housing After a House Fire


One of the biggest concerns for a family following a house fire is where they are going to live while their burned house is repaired.

If you have friends and family nearby, you may be able to stay with them. But chances are, you won’t be able to stay with them for the entire period your house is being repaired.

So where can you turn for temporary housing? Here are three possible options:

  • The government
  • Disaster relief organizations
  • Insurance firms and temporary housing


Let’s take a closer look at each.

The Government

Several government departments may participate in relief efforts, depending on the size of the fire.

For example, if your home was damaged during a wildfire, the Federal Emergency Management Agency may get involved.

In addition, the emergency management department in your state will also likely participate in relief efforts.

Lastly, the governor of your state may activate the National Guard in the case of a severe wildfire.

But a word of warning: it is often wise to avoid relying on government organizations for housing, at least over the long run.

That’s because whatever accommodations that government organizations provide will almost certainly be temporary group shelters.

The way the government responds to disasters best is by disbursing funds after the fact.

Disaster Relief Organizations (Non-Governmental)

Local, regional, or national disaster relief organizations, like the American Red Cross, may be called upon when a significant house fire occurs.

These organizations can assist with basic needs like food, drink, shelter, and other things.

However, it again should be noted here that any accommodation would likely be a temporary group shelter designed to offer protection and safety until more permanent housing can be located.

If your house is not ready when you leave the shelter, the Red Cross does pledge to assist you in finding “transitional lodging.”

Individual families that have been affected by a smaller-scale calamity, like a house fire, can also get assistance from the Red Cross.

Yet, these relief efforts are limited and may just consist of providing food, clothing, cleaning goods, and equipment for personal hygiene.

You might still be responsible for finding temporary accommodations.

Is Temporary Housing Covered by Insurance?

The good news in this bad situation is that temporary housing is often covered under your insurance policy.

That means, after a fire or other calamity, one of the first places you should turn is to your insurance company.

As we said, it’s likely that temporary accommodations are covered by your insurance if you have adequate insurance and are a homeowner or renter.

This is especially true for house fires (however, other disasters like flooding and earthquakes could be exceptions).

Typically, such interim accommodations may be covered under “extra living expenditures” or “loss of usage” coverage in your homeowner’s policy.

If your home has been rendered uninhabitable by fire damage covered by your insurance policy or if a covered incident has prompted a government or law enforcement order to vacate your property, this coverage ought to be accessible.

Even an advanced payment to get you going might be possible.

Things to Keep in Mind

Just be sure to keep these three crucial elements of loss of usage insurance in mind:

– Loss of use compensation only covers living expenditures in excess of what you would typically pay for a residence. Thus, if costs like home maintenance are subtracted, you could not get paid for the entire rent. Nonetheless, costs for laundry, storage, and even some meals can be included in the definition of loss of use.

– Loss of use coverage may have a time and dollar cap on how long and how much your insurance provider will pay for additional living costs.

– Loss of use insurance offers a rental that is comparable to the home you were residing in. So don’t anticipate temporarily exchanging your condo for a three-bedroom penthouse in place of your one-bedroom home.

What About Corporate Housing?

You should concentrate on choosing the kind of temporary accommodation that would work best for your family once your extra living costs are taken care of.

Corporate housing could be your best option in many circumstances. This is especially true if you anticipate being away from home for months as opposed to just a few weeks. Insurance providers might not want you to spend more than 30 days in a hotel.

For extended visits, corporate housing combines a number of hotel conveniences with homelike luxuries like a full kitchen and laundry facilities.

Just be aware that your insurance provider might stop paying for restaurant meals after you move into a temporary home with a kitchen.

How to Get Ready for a Short-Term Stay

Naturally, you should first study your insurance policy and consult with your insurance agent to ensure that the “loss of use” coverage in your policy is sufficient.

Look for phrases like “loss of use,” “extra living expenditures,” “fair rental value,” and “civil authority restricts use” in your insurance as you study the policy.

Industry professionals advise having the following papers in hand to hasten the process of obtaining temporary housing:

  • Credit report
  • Employment documentation
  • Self-employment documentation
  • Evidence of insurance coverage


Be sure to save your receipts if you need to move into temporary housing due to a displacement and want to be compensated by your insurance provider.

Moreover, it is always a good idea to make sure that any significant expenses are first approved by your insurance provider.

Own a Fire-Damaged House?

If you want to avoid a long repair process that would require you to stay for an extended period in temporary housing, you can always sell your house in as-is condition to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.

We pay a terrific price and all in cash so that you can get our money fast and get on with your life.

Instead of spending a stressful period in temporary housing, you can get a new house and begin to re-establish roots. It may be the fastest, easiest way to overcome the shock of an unexpected house fire and get back to living a more normal life.

To learn more about us and to see if your home qualifies for a free quote, fill out the short form below.


Photo by Huy Nguyen on Unsplash


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