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Tips for filing a fire insurance claim
You faithfully pay your homeowner’s insurance premiums on time and in full – but you never thought you would have to use your policy. If you have recently survived a devastating event such as a house fire, you have new issues to deal with like smoke damage and/or water damage from the attempt to extinguish it. It is a devastating experience that will leave you facing countless challenges, while trying to deal with what to do next. In the middle of all this confusion, you have to deal with the insurance company. Below are some tips from people who have been there.
Review your coverage
There’s nothing worse than finding out after a disaster, that you aren’t fully insured. The best course of action is to review your policy annually to make sure you are adequately covered. Talk to your insurance agent and ask him to explain the difference between replacement and cash value coverage for your belongings and home. Doing this small task annually will ensure you are covered for any recent home improvements or any new items such as appliances or furnishings. Your home insurance policy is your protection plan for your most valuable possession, so know it inside and out.
Ask for an advance
When fire strikes your home, you have mere minutes to react and get out. This leaves little time to collect necessities like clothing , let alone your valuables. Asking your insurer for an advance against your claim is totally acceptable and most insurance companies will comply. Your claim can actually help out with expenses like lodging and food, and help with the expenses associated with securing your property. Check your homeowners policy for coverage for additional living expenses.
Make a complete inventory and don’t throw anything away
To ensure you are compensated for every item that was damaged by fire, smoke and water, start compiling your own personal inventory list. Keep an accurate and detailed inventory list of your home contents and update it regularly. Enlist the help of your family members and everyone who lives in your household. List items with as much detail as possible and include serial numbers when possible. If you are doing this after a house fire, do it quickly as your contents and events will still be fresh in your mind. Never throw away anything that was damaged in the fire. Even if the property was destroyed, save it, it will be easier to prove that you lost the items in the fire.
Secure your property
Most insurance policies require that you take necessary measures to minimize additional damage to your home, like putting a tarp on the roof to reduce weather damage or boarding up all windows and doors if you are vacating the building. Most insurers will want you to put up a gate or fence around the entire structure, to reduce safety issues. Remove smoldering furniture or other items that could reignite the fire.
Contact your insurance company right away
The answer to this is, right away. As soon as you and your family are safe, contact your insurance company. Make sure when calling, you have a current copy of your homeowners policy with you. Expect to be assigned a case number and an appointment with an insurance adjuster. Your insurance company is obligated to deal with your claim in a timely manner . If you don’t hear from your adjuster in a reasonable amount of time, call, text, or email, and document all of your correspondence with the company.
ICC Public Adjusters doing business in North Carolina, South
Carolina and Georgia
It’s obvious, Call us to assist you in planning your claims process time line.
Even if you don’t hire us, we will help you get started, and offer valuable hints and insight into this complex claims process.
At ICC, we work solely on the policyholder’s behalf, so you can be sure you are getting the best independent and customer-focused service. If you don’t succeed, we don’t succeed
- Detail the full scope of property damage and estimate repair costs
- Perform content loss, personal injury and business impairment assessments
- Contract specialist to underpin and validate any claims
- Liaise directly with your insurance company, acting solely on your behalf
- Obtain the maximum pay-out possible subject to the findings of our reports
- Ensure your property is returned to its original state as soon as reasonably viable