A home fire can turn your life upside down. It can leave you wondering how you can ever go back to the peaceful and cozy life you used to enjoy. Although this is a stressful time, you need to be calm, practical and prepare to file an insurance claim with your home insurer. In our experience as fire damage adjusters, this process is needlessly prolonged and with an unsatisfactory outcome due to several mistakes homeowners make.
In order to help you avoid make these mistakes, we decided to prepare a list of dos and don’ts for filing a claim:
DO: Contact Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible
After you managed to safeguard your home and most of your belongings, you need to contact your insurer. Here, you will inform them of the event. Be careful to write down, as precisely as possible, when, where and how the fire started. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all home fires start while cooking. Heating equipment is responsible for 13% of fires. And electrical wiring and lighting equipment accounts for 9% of fires.
DON’T: Automatically Accept the Repair Contractor Recommended by the Insurer
Fire damage adjusters know that insurance companies want to keep their expenses under control at all costs. In order to do this, they resort to all kinds of tactics. This includes recommending a repair contractor that offers the lowest price.
This may mean that you will not get quality repairs. Or that some items on your repair list will just be ignored.
DO: Hire Fire Damage Adjusters to Help You Prepare the Scope of Loss
The Scope of Loss is a very important document in the insurance claim file. It details the amount and type of damage your home suffered in the fire and the quantity of materials needed to restore it to its initial condition.
Fire damage adjusters have the experience and know-how to evaluate these damages. They also know how to estimate the cost of materials and labor accurately. Also, the public adjuster will advise you to avoid making any mistakes until the claim is approved, such as starting to do repair works on your own.
DO: Collect All Relevant Documents and Prepare an Inventory
The insurance company will ask for various documents, such as invoices that prove the ownership and the price of various damaged items (furniture, electronics, large appliances, etc.).
As soon as possible, look for all these relevant documents and, in parallel, start making an inventory of the damaged items. Fire damage adjusters will help you prepare an accurate Replacement Cost Value document, which the insurance company is most likely to accept without objections.
Finally, fire damage adjusters will advise you to resist the insurer’s pressure to accept a quick settlement for your claim. Call us and hire an experienced adjuster to help you win a fair settlement amount for your insurance claim!