A fire can engulf everything from your garage to your garden and occur anywhere in a house, townhouse, apartment, or condo. Following a fire, other problems might occur, wreaking havoc on your property and belongings. There are many causes of fires, including barbecues, candles, defective wiring, gas leaks, and wildfire.
While a house fire is a traumatic experience for a homeowner, dealing with an insurance agent afterward can make matters worse. However, you don’t have to go through the process alone. The process of dealing with an insurance company will be a lot easier if you have a fire claims adjuster working for you.
Type of Damage Coverage
First and foremost, it is important to know what your insurance covers in terms of damage caused by fire. The majority of fire insurance policies provide four different types of coverage:
- Personal property – your assets and valuables kept in your home fall under the personal property category. This form of coverage might pay for a damaged security system, television, or even jewelry.
- Residence – Residence coverage refers to the structure of the house or property. If the smoke caused irreparable damage to the inside of your home, cleaning up the smoke would fall into this category.
- Other structures – Barns, backyards, or detached garages are examples of “other structures.” These aren’t your actual living space but are still part of your home.
- Loss of use – If you and your family are required to live elsewhere because your home is being repaired, the costs incurred are referred to as “loss of use.” This could be hotel expenses or rental car expenses.
In-Home Fires VS. Natural Disaster Fires
As an insurance policyholder, it is important to know that wildfires or natural disaster fires are treated differently than in-home fires. Most insurance policies cover in-home fires caused mainly by personal liability. Like knocking over a burning candle resulting in a fire is personal liability. An insurance policy may not cover fires caused by natural disasters or wildfires. Therefore, before you claim insurance, you should be aware of the type of coverage your insurance policy provides.
How to file for a fire insurance claim
As fires across America have become increasingly common, insurance companies attempt to cut costs on fire insurance claims to save money. That is why it is important to educate yourself on filing for a fire insurance claim. If filed correctly, an insurance claim can help you get reimbursed when you lose or damage your property in a fire. We have shared a few tips on dealing with insurance companies in case of a fire.
- You can ask for an advance on your fire insurance claim. When you have to evacuate in emergency scenarios, it is natural that you forget to grab essentials from your home, like clothes or credit cards; you can call your insurance company and ask for an advance from your insurance claim to purchase the necessities you need.
- Make sure to list everything you have lost in the fire. Make sure you don’t throw anything away, even if it is damaged. That way, the insurance adjuster will be sure to see the damage. Otherwise, the insurance company might refuse to pay for it.
- It is important that you file for an insurance claim as soon as possible so that the process can get started immediately. The insurance company requires you to file a “loss of claim” in which you have to identify all the items you have lost along with their worth.
- Protect your property from further damage as the insurance company will expect you to take proper care of it. This is necessary to prevent further damage to your property; however, it is not required when there is a total loss.
- Keep documentation of everything, as insurance claims enable you to rebuild and repair your home, and that too on the “actual cash value.”
- Keep a record of your living expenses, as these can be claimed under the “loss of use clause.”
- Continue to pay your insurance premiums as it covers liability coverage.
- Don’t be in a hurry to close your fire claim, as you may have overlooked something in all the stress and hassle. Always remember the power is in your hands.
- Consider hiring a fire claims adjuster. It might seem costly at first, as a fire claims adjuster charges anywhere between 9% – 15% of what the insurance company pays you. Still, it is worth it if the adjuster could get you significantly more than you would have had you gone through the process yourself.
Whenever you need to report a fire in your house to your insurance company, make sure you do it as soon as possible. It may be time-consuming with the need to file multiple documents and respond to claims adjusters’ and investigators’ queries, and if you feel you are not being fairly compensated, hire a public adjuster and make your life easier.