What to Do After a House Fire?
In 2016, a house fire was reported every 90 seconds, and more than one million fires were reported in the United States in that year. In addition to encountering problems in recovering your belongings and finding safe lodging, we know that a severe fire can even take lives. Even though it might not be very pleasant to deal with the pain and the problems that come after a fire, taking a little time to cover all the bases of action is extremely beneficial. You may find it difficult to decide what to do next after a house fire, so we compiled a list of recommendations on what to do after making sure everyone in the family is out of harm’s way.
1) Call your insurance company as soon as possible.
According to The Penny Hoarder, one of the first steps you should take in the event of a house fire is to call your insurance company. Although rental and homeowner insurance may initially seem like a waste of money, having a policy in a time of crisis can save you many headaches.
Did you know that there are a few tips and tricks to help you maximize what your insurance company refunds? For example, it would be a good idea to keep receipts for all expenses incurred because of the fire at home, such as trips to the laundromat or total reconstruction of the home, up to the cost of temporary housing. You could also gather a list of all the items you lost, including their value, where you bought them, and their age. In addition, many take their own photos and videos for their records and provide them to their insurance company, even if they are not requested.
2) Don’t go back into your home without checking with the fire department.
The fact that the fire has been extinguished doesn't mean that it’s time to enter the house. Even if the damage after the fire is at a minimum, the structure of the house may have been damaged, even if it doesn't look like it in plain sight. So it's better to wait until you have permission from the fire department to return home. Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your well-being and safety.
3) Get a copy of your fire report.
A fire report is an official document that details everything that happened in the home fire incident. We recommend asking for this document from the fire department since it’s very important for the purposes of your claims transaction with your insurance company. We suggest you review the report and familiarize yourself with the things mentioned in that important document.
4) Create an inventory list of your belongings.
During the claim process with your insurance company, you’ll most likely have to send an inventory list of all your personal belongings that were damaged by the fire. This is a typical step when making an insurance claim for fire damage. Although it would be more convenient to have a list already prepared in advance with all your belongings, the truth is that very few people are prepared in this way.
The inventory list can have the purchase price, the brand, the receipts, the serial number and the description of each item. Don’t forget that this list is only for objects damaged by the fire, while personal items in good condition can be kept in storage.
5) Alert these companies of your temporary address change.
In addition to giving a call to your family and close friends to inform them of the incident, if your home suffered severe damage, you may need to change your address temporarily while you decide what to do next. You could alert the following organizations about the fire and your temporary address change:
- Delivery services (water, newspapers)
- Neighbors (at least one of them)
- The post office (to change your mailing address)
- The bank
- Your insurance company (health, vehicle, property)
- Credit card companies
Home safety is something of the utmost importance to you and your loved ones, especially after a house fire. Infinity Insurance understands that, and for that reason, it’s very important to have a reliable team at your service, to protect your home. Get in touch with an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.
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