Having your house damaged by fire is a scary, overwhelming experience. Whether you were in the home at the time of the fire or not, to see your home and possessions charred by flames is not something you will soon forget. On top of the emotional toll this can take on a person and a family, there are several things that must be done after your house has been damaged by fire in order to preserve your insurance claim. While you may not fully get back what you have lost, homeowners insurance can provide crucial financial relief as you rebuild your life after a fire.
What Should You Do After Your House Has Been Damaged By Fire?
In times of turmoil, many may feel inclined to rush in and try to get everything back to normal as quickly as possible. While this is understandable, it is important to take your time and handle things after a house fire with care. It can be even more appealing to rush in and “fix” things when you have been displaced by the fire. Again, avoid the urge to rush. Evaluate your options and proceed with care. You may also want to consider asking your insurance company for an advance on your claim to cover the costs you may incur due to being displaced from your home.
One of the first things you will want to do after your house has been damaged by fire is to secure your property. You have a legal duty to “mitigate damages.” Essentially, this means you must take reasonable steps to protect your property from suffering further harm after the fire. This may involve doing things like hiring a contractor to cover doors, windows, and other openings in the home.
Keep records of every communication you have with your insurance company or any agent of your insurance company. Whether it relates to your policy or your coverage, these communications should be kept on hand throughout the claims process. In addition to retaining records of insurance company communications, you should make an inventory of your damaged personal property. The inventory should set forth regarding your damaged personal property:
- The quantity;
- Age; and
- Replacement Cost Value (RCV).
Be sure to gather supporting documentation for what you have set on your inventory. This may mean attaching bills or receipts as well as other documents to support the figures you assert in your inventory.
Homeowners insurance policies include a “loss of use” clause which gives homeowners the right to seek reimbursement for living expenses incurred while displaced from their home. Because of this, you should take care to track your living expenses while you are out of your home. Be sure to note that your insurance coverage will only entitle you to living expenses above and beyond what you would be spending on a daily basis in your own home. In other words, insurance proceeds should compensate you for the difference in what it costs you to live in your home and what it costs you now that you have been displaced from your home.
Florida Property Insurance Attorney
VCM Law Group can help you navigate the property insurance claim process. When your family has already been through so much, VCM Law Group is here to get you back on your feet. Contact us today.