By now the flames should be out, the fire trucks gone, and realization of what happened is settling in. Once you’ve confirmed that everyone is safe and unharmed, what comes next may be unclear and overwhelming. To help get you started on the right path, we’ve put together 10 things you need to do after a fire.
- If you haven’t already, call your insurance company’s claims hotline and report your claim. They will assign a claims adjuster to your loss. Depending on your insurance company, you may have several adjusters that handle different portions of the claim. Make sure you have everyone’s contact information and know what they are responsible for handling. It’s also wise to keep their supervisor’s contact information on hand in case you can’t reach your adjuster in an emergency.
- Now is also the time to hire a company to secure your property. This is commonly known as emergency services and includes a number of steps to ensure your safety and the security of your property. Emergency services may include boarding windows and doors, boarding and tarping holes in the roof, clearing out debris, putting up a temporary fence, and other precautions aimed at protecting the property from further damage. Make sure not to skip this step – most insurance companies require you to secure the property immediately after a fire.
- Notify the necessary parties. This includes your lender or landlord, family members and friends, your employer (in case you need time off), and any other parties that may be involved. This is also a great time to contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or other organization if you’d like their help. You can find more information regarding resources here.
- If the fire department said it’s safe to enter your property, collect your valuables. In particular, make sure to get your driver’s license, social security card, checkbooks, any money that may have been inside, and other valuables you cannot do without. If you have a copy of your insurance policy, collect that as well.
- Find a place to stay either for the night or for the next several days while you work out your additional living expenses coverage with your insurance company. If you have animals, make sure to find a safe place for them too. The property may contain hazardous materials after a fire and animals shouldn’t be left on site.
- Find a solution for your mail. During the course of repairs you will have many important documents and checks mailed to you. Make sure you know where your mail is going. Depending on the extent of damage to your property, mail sent to the property may be returned as “undeliverable”.
- Get organized. Designate a drawer, folder, notebook, box, or other area to hold all information related to your claim. Start keeping receipts for everything related to your claim.
- Download FEMA’s After the Fire! Returning to Normal pamphlet. It provides additional tips and resources to help you get back to normal.
- Now is the time to start making decisions on the team you want to restore your property. Evaluate your options for a contractor, contents restoration company, and if you desire, a public adjuster. Check references, verify any required licenses, get copies of insurance, and look them up on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Of course, we hope you’ll consider HP Associates for construction and HP Contents & Restoration for your contents restoration. You can contact us for more information about how we can help you.
- Select your restoration team and get started on the repair process. A good team will walk you through the process step-by-step and provide valuable guidance on how to handle your claim.
Suffering a loss due to fire, water or other types of damage is stressful, but with the right team you can breeze through it and be back in your property in record time. Thank you for taking the time to read this. The days immediately after a fire can be overwhelming. We hope this helped you figure out what to do next! If you’d like a complimentary consultation with HP Associates, click here for more information.