No matter how much you grumble about your monthly home insurance bill, you'll be glad that you have the insurance company on your side after a devastating event like a house fire. But getting compensated for your damage claim isn't always as easy as you might like it to be. Here are a few tips that can make dealing with your insurance company after a house fire easier and help you get your claim paid faster.
Don't Clean Up
It can be very tempting to grab a scrub brush and start scrubbing soot off the walls just as soon as it's safe to go back into your home. After all, this is where you live, and where all your possessions are – it's understandable that you'd feel a desire to start working on fixing it yourself, as soon as possible. But resist this urge.
Your insurance adjuster needs to take a look at the place first, for one thing. You need to be aware that while your insurance company will pay for the damage caused by the fire, you may have a harder time getting compensation for any damage that you cause while trying to clean up. This is why you need to have the home inspected first, and why it's better to leave the repair work to a professional fire damage restoration company. That way, no one will be able to claim that you created some of the damage yourself.
Instead of trying to remove the soot and repair the damage right away, walk through the house with a camera, and take as many photos as you can. Documenting the condition of your home in the immediate aftermath of a fire can be a big help when it comes to getting your insurance claim paid.
The insurance adjuster will also be taking photographs. When the insurance company is deciding the fate of your claim, they'll look through your "before" photos and the adjuster's after photos. This comparison can help bolster your claim by showing that all of the damage existed after the fire and wasn't caused by you.
Secure Your Home
While it's not a good idea to try to fix your property yourself, most insurance companies require you to take reasonable steps to protect it. If you don't board up the windows, for example, you may not be able to collect compensation if a rain storm further damages the inside of your property, or if vandals break in and deface it.
Use boards and tarps to cover openings to the house. Stop by your property regularly and make sure that it hasn't been disturbed, and ask your neighbors to keep an eye out and contact you if they notice anything unusual. You might also want to consider putting up a chain link fence around the property, especially if you anticipate problems with animals wandering in. These measures may not prevent every possible problem, but as long as you can show that you tried to prevent them, you should still be able to receive compensation for your fire damage restoration needs.
A house fire is definitely traumatic event, but with compensation from your insurance company and a good fire damage restoration team, you will eventually get your house back to normal.