Dealing with a rental property fire claim can be overwhelming when you manage a property. Knowing what to do during that process, however, can help ease some stress. Here are a couple of things you, as landlord, need to take care of for a rental property fire claim.
To Do Immediately
The first thing you need to do is make sure your tenants are safe. Then, be sure to call or email your insurance Carrier. It’s best to report the fire as soon as possible and begin the rental property fire claim process.
Get as much information as you can from tenants about what started or caused the fire. Make sure they know to contact:
- Their own personal insurance agents
- Their renters’ insurance provider, if it is different
- Any community organizations for food, temporary housing, and other resources
You and the tenants can go through the property once the fire officer has deemed it is safe. This way you can assess the damages, and the tenants can gather their personal belongings and do an inventory.
In the Days After the Fire
Be sure that you photograph all the damage. You, the landlord, are responsible for the needed repairs after a rental property fire claim. That doesn’t mean you have to pay for everything. If you have appropriate landlord’s dwelling fire policy insurance, it will defray some of the costs.
The only thing the tenant is responsible for is replacing their own lost or damaged property. This is not the case, however, if it can be proven that they caused the fire, either by their actions or neglect. Usually, your insurance adjuster and the Fire Marshall will determine who is responsible for specific damages.
Finally, make sure that everyone working on inspections checks for hidden damages like smoke, soot, and water damage.
Prevention is Best
The best thing you can before a fire is be proactive. You can’t guarantee a fire will never happen. You can, however, do everything possible to be familiar with your insurance policy. Try encouraging your tenants to do the same. You can also ensure that your tenants know good fire safety practices.
Here are a few more tips you can follow:
- Have the correct number of smoke detectors and fire alarms at your properties
- Regularly check that the smoke detectors and fire alarms are working
- Include fire extinguishers in each kitchen
- Discuss fire escape routes with your tenants
- Display fire escape maps in each unit
- Hold annual fire drills
Safety measures are a small investment of time and money. They can, however, prevent property damage and save people’s lives.
Not many property owners are up for the large undertaking of a rental property fire claim. It is far too easy to mishandle the process and end up with a lower claim settlement. Instead, hire a public adjuster to be your expert and make sure all your bases are covered during the rental property fire claim process. Contact Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting and see how we can help you resolve your claim fairly and quickly.