How To File A Fire Damage Insurance Claim

how to file fire damage insurance claim

The experience of having your home damaged or belongings lost in a fire is overwhelming and stressful. Over the past decade, there has been a surge in fire-induced property damage. Between the years of 2009 and 2018, the United States suffered through a 90.6 percent increase in dollars lost as the direct result of fires. As home and business owners are confronted with this harsh reality, they are turning to their fire insurance policies for relief. Unfortunately, because of the recent uptick in fire-related property damage, some insurance companies have begun to give the short end of the stick, regarding fire insurance claims. If properly filed and fulfilled, fire claims can be the much-needed relief that home and business owners are in a desperate search for. Continue reading to learn how to file a fire damage insurance claim. 

Request An Advance 

If you were forced to quickly evacuate your home because of the fire’s harrowing conditions, chances are, you did not grab your mundane toiletries or your son’s gym sneakers. Sadly, some of these items may have been permanently lost by the fire. However, there is no need to panic. Instead, contact your insurance company and request that someone brings you a check. You can then use this check to purchase any necessities without having to wait until your claim is filed and accepted. But be warned: do NOT go overboard with your purchases. Your insurance company will likely refuse to reimburse frivolous purchases. Not only that, this advance will be deducted from the total amount you ultimately receive from the insurance company. 

Document And Keep EVERYTHING That May Relate To Your Fire Damage Insurance Claim 

As soon as you get the moment, create a running list of everything that has been damaged, lost, or destroyed, as a result of the fire. Starting the list as soon as possible ensures that these items are still fresh in your mind, so it is less likely that you will miss something. If you opted to wait until you filed your proof of loss claim, it may already be too late; you will forget many items you would have previously recalled. Additionally, it could be beneficial to ask friends and family to look over and potentially contribute to your running list of damaged, lost, or destroyed belongings. 

Separately, do not throw out any belongings that could possibly relate to your fire damage insurance claim. While it may seem tempting to throw out your partially melted pleather boots or your beloved Persian rug that is half scorched, it is much easier to show your claims adjuster a destroyed item than to have a guessing game. Furthermore, your insurance company is much more likely to reimburse you for a tangible item and may even refuse to compensate you if you choose to toss the damaged belongings. 

While living in a different location, be sure to document your living expenses. Fire damage insurance policies typically contain a “loss of use” clause, which explains that the insurance company will reimburse you for the living expenses you incur while displaced. 

File Your Fire Damage Insurance Claim Promptly 

Insurance policies generally require that policyholders report their loss “as soon as possible.” During the initial filling, you will be likely asked to provide a proof of loss claim that includes the list of belongings that were either destroyed or damaged, as well as their value. If you fail to file in a timely matter, your claim may be jeopardized. 

The fire claims process is complicated and lengthy. To ensure the best possible outcome, hold onto all documents and file your claim as soon as possible.

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