There are things you definitely should do in the wake of a house fire. Just as importantly, there are also many things you should NOT do after a house fire. While some may be common sense, others might sound like great ideas, but end up causing you more trouble. We’ll discuss the different actions you should and shouldn’t take after a fire in your home.
Keep track of every conversation and communication with both your insurance and your contractor. Make sure that all aspects of your policy are in writing and that you understand the language of your insurance policy and the coverage you’re entitled to. Be clear with your adjustor and contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the process.
While fire restoration doesn’t typically have the same urgency as water restoration, you still don’t want to delay getting started. Ensure the safety of the home and its occupants, then call your insurance provider as soon as possible. Extensive fire restoration is a long, involved process, so you’ll want to get it started quickly.
Prepare an inventory of your damaged property with the quantity and description of everything. This will be helpful when communicating with your insurance and contractors to make sure all of your belongings are accounted for and properly cared for. Some items will be salvageable and some will not depending on the level of damage, so this inventory list will help simplify this process.
Don’t under report your contents to your insurance company. When you take your inventory, be specific. Assuming you have the appropriate insurance coverage, everything in your home that was damaged will be either replaced or repaired. Being specific will ensure that your contents are properly sorted into salvageable and non-salvageable items and either replaced or restored completely.
Hire a professional fire damage restoration contractor from start to finish. You may need help boarding up and securing your home before cleaning and restoration can even begin. Feel free to take some time to get contractor recommendations and call around. There is somewhat less urgency for an immediate start on fire damage restoration as long as the building is secure, so you can take some time to find a contractor who makes you feel comfortable.
Don’t settle. Know your rights, understand your policy, and make sure you’re getting the coverage you’re entitled to. In addition to your coverage, understand that you are not required to use the contractor your insurance company recommends, nor do you have to stick with the same contractor through the process. If your contractor isn’t providing the quality of work you expect, you are allowed to move on to someone else. Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make and it should be cared for appropriately up to the limits of your insurance policy. Don’t settle for cutting corners.