Being the victim of a house fire is one of the more difficult things a person can go through during their lifetime.
It can be incredibly stressful and immediately afterwards you may be in shock … but it is important that you begin to act fast to take the steps necessary to recover from the fire.
In other words, you don’t really have time to mourn your loss. You need to begin the process of recovery right away.
What Exactly Does That Mean?
The first step after a fire, after everyone is safe and the fire department has been called, is to contact your insurance agent.
This is vitally important. You must involve the insurance company right from the beginning in order to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Actually, contacting the insurance company promptly is one of the first duties listed in the Conditions section of any house insurance policy.
You are required to give prompt notice to the company and to allow it and its representatives to inspect your house that has been damaged by fire.
The truth is insurance companies, having dealt with numerous house fires in the past, have ended up creating a sort of “best practices” for what to do after you have suffered a house fire.
That means they will know how to ease your stress and guide you from step to step as you recover from the fire.
They Have Set Up the Process so That They Are Involved from the Beginning
Insurance companies expect to be among the first people you contact.
They want to be there to discuss your initial options and then to pay for the repairs or restoration and ensure that each step is accomplished properly.
However, it’s important to realize that all insurance companies are “for-profit” companies. That means they are concerned, first and foremost, about their own bottom lines – your needs come second to that.
In other words, you can’t make the mistake that many house fire victims do and think the insurance company is always looking out for your best interests and you can just follow all of their recommendations blindly.
You must take ownership of the process and establish a hierarchy where the insurance company and the vendors are all working for you.
This is essential in order for you to receive a fair settlement for your house fire.
What Are Some of the Things You Can Do to Help Ensure a Fair Settlement?
For one thing, keep a detailed log from the very beginning.
That means after your house fire write down the date of the fire, what time the fire occurred and where the fire occurred, including how it originated if that is known at the time.
Also, write down the vehicle identification numbers for any vehicles destroyed in the fire. You should also write down the fire department that responded and their contact information.
In addition, write down the name and contact information for the fire marshal or fire investigator who handled your house fire.
Next, obtain a copy of the fire report, which is a public document in most areas of the country. You can ask the fire marshal or fire investigator for a copy.
Ask Your Insurance Agent What to Do
Another thing you can do is when you talk to your insurance agent ask him or her if they have recommendations for how you should proceed.
Some companies have different requirements and it doesn’t hurt to ensure you do things the way your company wants them done.
For example, they may ask you to compile a list of items damaged in the house fire and what you consider the value of each of those items to be.
You may also need to secure your property by boarding up your house. This may require you to hire a board up company.
Contacting Your Insurance Agent During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Complicating matters today is the COVID-19 outbreak that we are currently doing through.
While your initial contact with your insurance agent will be over the phone, in the past you may have met with them on-site at your house fire or in their office the following day.
Now due to social distancing requirements and lockdown orders that face to face contact may not be possible.
You could take advantage of modern technology such as live video conferencing to get a closer interaction than can be provided over the phone.
The key here is that you want your agent to see you as a person who is hurting and not just a number that counts against his company’s bottom line.
If you do meet face-to-face you may need to wear a mask and gloves. Remember to also stay six feet apart.
Here Are Some Additional Safety Tips to Help Avoid Exposure to the Coronavirus:
Health experts recommend that you do the following things to lessen your chances of contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Stay home as much as you can
- Wear a mask when in public
- Practice social distancing – maintain a safe distance from others (6 feet)
- Wash your hands frequently – wash for 20 seconds with soap and water or an alcohol-based rub
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel sick
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Another Option …
If you are concerned about dealing with your insurance company and managing the entire house fire repair process, another option is to sell your house to We Buy Fire Damaged Houses.
We are well known for providing house fire victims with a fast, fair price for their damaged homes.
Combine the sales price you receive from us with your insurance settlement and you could buy an even nicer home – and you won’t have to go through the stress that comes with making extensive house repairs.
To learn more about We Buy Fire Damaged Houses and to receive an offer for your home, just fill out the short form below.