Top Tips for Filing Fire Insurance Claims
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 fire in your home, you may be feeling devastated and confused. These feelings are normal, as is the apprehension about filing a claim and getting the compensation you need to begin repairs. Following these tips for filing fire insurance claims will help streamline the process and get your life back on track.
Ask for an advance.
A fire can be devastating and leave you with nothing. While it may take a claims adjuster days or weeks to process your claim and give you a check, you might not have the luxury of time. Depending on the extent of the damage, your family might need new clothes, a place to sleep, and essentials like toiletries and clothes for work. If this applies to you, don’t panic. Call your insurance company and ask for an advance that will pay for necessities. This way, you won’t have to wait for your ultimate insurance payout to buy new clothes or feed your family.
At the same time, you’ll want to be conservative with any advance. Use practicality and buy only what you need, because an insurance company won’t reimburse you for things they deem frivolous. If, for example, you need more suits for work, don’t head to the most expensive store in town. Keep in mind you advance will be deducted from the amount you ultimately receive from your insurance company.
Make a complete inventory – and don’t throw anything away.
Keeping a detailed and accurate inventory of everything you lost in the fire will make your claims process easier. Doing this correctly may require input and time from everyone in your household. Start making this list as soon as possible, while everything is still fresh in your mind. Take pictures if possible, and retrieve any receipts.
Fires can render your possessions smoky and even moldy when the fire crews put out the flames. It might be tempting to throw away your damaged possessions, but this would be a mistake. It will be easier to prove that you lost the items in the fire if your adjuster can see them. They may choose to not compensate you for items if you throw them away.
File your claim as soon as possible.
You might need time to process what’s happened to your home and your family, and that’s okay. However, it’s imperative that you get started on the claims process immediately. Your insurance firm will require you to file a “proof of loss”, in which you include a list of all items lost or damaged in a fire, as well as their value. This process will take time. If you don’t act immediately, it may take the adjuster longer to get to your claim, and you could be living through meager means unnecessarily. Compile all evidence and submit it to the insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner you get the claims process started, the sooner you can move on with your life.