As per 2018 data published the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), there were 379,600 unique incidents of residential fires in the U.S at a whopping estimated loss of $8,194,500,000.
Fire potentially causes physical damage through burning, as it affects life and property, causes pollution, and water contamination. Not only the fire but smoke can affect your health, property’s structure, and other personal possessions in unimaginable ways. Seeing your precious home and valuables being destroyed flames can be very traumatic, both emotionally and financially. So, for your peace of mind, you buy a home insurance policy. After the event, it will take you time to get over the horrifying experience, but you expect that on a material level, your insurance company will pay whatever it costs to repair your house and belongings to pre-loss conditions.
Essential steps to follow at the first signs of smoke or fire in your house:
- Leave the premises immediately and then call 911!
- Contact your insurance company so that they can explain the kind of paperwork required to move the process forward.
- Take out your policy document and read it carefully, especially the “declarations page”, for helpful information on the extent of your policy’s coverage, your expected deductible, limitations, and exclusions, etc.
- Ensure that you take as many photographs as possible of all the damage.
- Prepare an inventory sheet of all your possessions destroyed or damaged in the fire.
- Estimate repairs and damages.
- Start collecting supporting documentation like copies of police reports, type of damages to your home like water damage or smoke damage, hotel bills if your home was unfit for living, etc.
- Contact a reliable public adjuster who will act as your representative and will help to make your fire claim hassle-free and compensated to your satisfaction.
Almost all homeowner’s insurance policies cover loss from fire, including damage from wildfires. In the unfortunate event of such an occurrence, a claims adjuster from your insurance company may visit your home after reviewing all the evidence that you have submitted. However, the chances are that he may conduct a superficial inspection without accurately identifying various potential issues such as structural damage, the use of proper cleaning chemicals and deodorization, or soot removal, and mold remediation. Furthermore, he may not be a professional contractor, builder, or be certified in fire and water damage restoration.
Insurance companies never voluntarily pay more than the amount that you claim. Sometimes, there may be water damage from the water used during firefighting, and your insurance company might refuse any compensation for it, claiming that certain parts of your home already had water damage. The insurance company will often not give a fair settlement for personal belongings that cannot be restored to pre-loss condition. This can result in less than a satisfactory settlement for you.
It would be a good idea to utilize the services of a public adjuster who understands the intricacies of fire insurance policies. Fire insurance claims are usually very complex due to the extent of the damage. Fire claim public adjusters are not only more experienced than the average policyholders, but they also have all the expertise in properly estimating the costs incurred from fire and smoke damage. They get you an equitable settlement within the parameters of your policy.
Call Experienced Public Adjusters now, the fee that they charge is a small price to pay, when seen in the light of the run-around and undue stress of negotiation with your insurance company, and losing money that is rightfully yours.