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Suffering a house fire is unimaginable for most people. Sometimes, everything you own and love is gone or damaged. And yet, the fire is just the beginning of the process. After all that loss, you still have to deal with your insurance company and make a house fire claim. Since filing a house fire claim can be daunting, here are five tips to help you get the highest possible settlement.
1. Insurance Policy
The first thing you need to do when filing a house fire claim is to get a current copy of your homeowners insurance policy. Many people store their policies in fireproof boxes, bank safety deposit boxes, or through an online server. Once you have a copy, contact your agent or insurance carrier to let them know about the damage.
However, if your copy burned in the fire, do not worry. Simply notify your agent that you’ve had a house fire and need a copy. Don’t remember who has your insurance? That’s okay, too. Contact your mortgage lender. They will know your company, and the company will get you in touch with your agent.
2. Seek an Advance
Getting an advance from your insurance company can help you cover immediate expenses for such things as:
- Smoke and water cleanup
- Temporary repairs
- Covering the roof with a tarp
- Securing the property
- Temporary housing
- Day-to-day living expenses associated with living in temporary housing
3. Take Inventory
This step is critical when working to get the maximum settlement from your insurance company during a house fire claim. During this step, you need to inventory all items lost and damaged. Do not make any statement in writing that the initial inventory is your full or final list. It can often take weeks, or even months, to know of the full extent of your loss.
4. Keep Detailed Records
The inventory process is time-consuming and difficult. Be sure to get others to help you as you create this list. These can be people that know you and the things you had in your home, as well as those that can help you determine the value of the items listed.
During this time, be sure to do the following:
- Take detailed photos
- Keep detailed notes and descriptions of damages and loss
- Save receipts and records for any costs incurred from the inventory process. These can be submitted with your house fire claim.
- Keep track of costs for cleanup and repairs
- Record money advanced to you by your insurance company and exactly how you used those funds.
- Keep a record of all communications with your insurance company, including a log of phone conversations stating the date, time, person with whom you were speaking, and notes about the communication.
- Ask for written communication about anything the insurance company asks you to do.
5. Get Help from a Public Adjuster
Although your insurance company will provide an insurance adjuster for your house fire claim, their goals are different from your own. The goal of an insurance company’s claim adjuster is to keep the claim payment to a minimum. Your goal is to get as much money as possible given your policy and the fire damage. That is why you need a public adjuster.
A public adjuster can help you navigate the claim process so that you can maximize your payout. They stand squarely on your side with your best interests in mind as they communicate and negotiate with your insurance company.
At Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting, LLC, we understand that a house fire is overwhelming and stressful. However, we also understand that the house fire claim process does not need to be. Call us today and let us help you get the highest claim payout possible for your loss.