The growing threat of fires makes familiarizing yourself with how to file fire insurance claims more important than ever. Losing your home and personal belongings to a fire is already a devastating experience. The last thing you want is your homeowners’ insurance company giving you a hard time regarding your claim. Here are some tips to follow when dealing with your homeowners’ insurance company regarding fire insurance claims.
Ask for an advance against your ultimate fire insurance claim.
If you were forced to vacate due to the dangerous conditions, you may not have grabbed essentials like toiletries or clothes. Some of these things may have even been completely lost in the fire. Don’t panic. Call your insurance company and ask that someone bring a check to wherever you’re staying. That way you can purchase necessities without having to wait for your ultimate insurance coverage.
Take care of your needs, but don’t go overboard. Be practical with what you buy because the insurance company will reject to reimburse you for frivolous things. Remember, this advance will be deducted from the total amount you receive from the insurance company, so don’t hurt yourself by going overboard.
Make a list of everything you’ve lost and don’t throw anything away.
You’ll want to make a list of everything you lost in the fire, which can take some time and thinking from everyone in your household. You want to be sure to start making this list as soon as possible so that you’re able to remember to include everything lost by the time you file your fire insurance claim. Be sure not to throw anything away. It’ll be easier to prove that you really lost the items on your list if you hold on to them for the insurance adjuster to see the damage.
File your claim right away and press the insurance company to act.
Insurance policies require policyholders to file their fire insurance claims as soon as possible, so call your homeowners’ insurance agent immediately to get the process started. The insurance company will require you to submit a “proof of loss claim,” which is where you list all of the items you lost, including their value. The following is a list of information to include in your claim:
Date of loss
Type of loss/damage
Location of damage
Any related injuries
Condition of the home
Description of damaged contents
Any necessary temporary repairs
A police report
Dealing with the insurance company is a very convoluted process involving countless calls, emails, letters, and documents. Be sure to keep track of all of the documents and communication, including post office receipts of mailing. Take notes, including the date and time, of every phone conversation and face to face meeting. Putting everything in a binder or file organizer will allow you to organize the different types of correspondence, invoices, bills, permits, contracts for repairs, and insurance forms into their own separate section. Remember to always keep original documents of everything. If your insurance company wants proof of a document, make them a copy but keep the original. The more organized you are, the better prepared you’ll be should your insurance company start playing the “he said, she said” game with you.