A fire is every homeowner’s nightmare, whether you live in a big city or a quiet suburb. Not only can a fire be deadly, but even in the best case scenario, it can damage your property and leave you with an unbearable mess to clean up later. From greasy soot stains and harmful odors to soggy floorboards that are bound to droop and warp in the coming months. Fires leave plenty of damage in their wake. If you find yourself struggling to get back on your feet, the first thing you need to do is claim insurance for the the water and smoke damage.
While it may seem like just another unwanted chore in a long list of chores to come, starting your claims process is one of the most important steps you can take on the road to normalcy.
Getting the Claims Process Started For Smoke Damage Repairs
Even though you already have enough on your plate as it is, you should know upfront that it’s your obligation to reach out to your homeowner’s insurance company about the water and smoke damage left behind after a fire or other accident—the sooner, the better. Review your policy, have your policy number on hand, and call Claim Services to speak to a representative.
Prepare Documents Ahead of Time
Be sure to have…
- complete list of everything that was damaged
- Any and all possible receipts you have for the damaged property (which can prove the value)
- Reports from policemen/firemen that arrived on scene, and any medical professionals you or your loved ones came into contact after the fact (when applicable)
While some claims may be settled in a matter of weeks, more complicated claims can take far longer to come to a resolution. In all honesty, it comes down to these three factors: the severity of the damages, whether there were injuries involved, and whether all parties are willing to cooperate.
What Your Claims Professional Can Do For You
When you contact your claims professional, you can discuss any details of your home policy coverage that you wish, including what your rights and obligations are as the process moves forward, and what to expect when an adjuster from your insurance company gets added to the mix.
Claims professionals will even go the extra mile to suggest ways that you can prevent further damage to your home or belongings until you can have them evaluated and repaired.
Depending on what your insurance company says there are times when it is in your best interest to stand your ground—such as if you disagree with the adjuster from your insurance company when settling on the value of your damaged property.
However, while you may not know everything about valuing the damages yourself (from the replacement costs of your personal belongings to the construction costs that it takes to rebuild,) as long as you are honest and you try your utmost, you’ll be sure to get the ball rolling.
It’s not uncommon for your insurance company to require a property evaluation in order to determine whether or not the water and smoke damages you’re experiencing are covered in your homeowners insurance. Expect an evaluation and help in any way that you can.
For instance, it’s in your best interest to provide your insurance adjustor with pictures or videos of the damage before they arrive. Make sure that you don’t throw away any of your damaged belongings that have been removed from your home until they’ve seen them. While it’s okay to make reasonable repairs to your home right away (to prevent further damage) do not do any significant restorations or permanent repairs until you get the okay.
If the damages are covered and the claim is settled, you should expect a check for the estimated cost of repairs. As described in this helpful Motherhood Moment blog, while there are tips that you can follow to restore small damages to your home on your own, it is recommended that you contact a professional restoration service that has the tools and expertise needed to get your home back to the way it was when you’re dealing with significant repairs—and most insurance companies will even send you a second check after a professional contractor finished the job and writes up a bill. It may take time, but when you’re in good hands, you’ll be one step closer to getting back your peace of mind.
Author Bio: Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer from Omaha, Nebraska. She has written for clients like Contractor’s License Resource Group and L.N. Curtis & sons. In her free time she likes to work on DIY crafts with her two daughters, Jessa and Skylar.