So you read the smoke detector blog already, so the batteries were changed, right? That blog probably got your brain turning thinking about what else you’ve been putting aside, that could cause a fire. When was the last time you checked your dryer vent? Did you replace that light switch in the garage that’s been acting a little weird? Oh, and the cord for the lamp in the living room doesn’t go under the area rug, you finally rearranged the room to remove this hazard. See, I knew we were on the same page! You are like a Fire Marshall in training, or maybe an insurance agent in the making, who knows!
Enough small talk, let’s get down to business. So we talked about smoke detectors already, but let’s say the unthinkable did happen. You switched out the garage light switch, but an outlet upstairs needs fixing too, and you didn’t know until it was too late. You are in a fire claim.
Majority of the Damage
This may blow your mind a little bit, but think it through. In a fire loss, not talking about a total loss, most of the damage is from the water to put the fire out. The amount of water used to prevent the fire from spreading, and to extinguish the flame can do more damage than the fire itself. If a fire is on a second floor, the weight of the water can collapse the floor leading to more damage to the area beneath.
The firefighters have left the scene, and now it’s just you and your adjuster standing in your yard talking about what will happen next.
You will get a restoration team to the house to start the repair. These teams have several working parts. There are teams to deal with water damage, teams to deal with structural damage, and teams to take care of your contents (both what you keep and damaged items). There are a lot of working parts to gets things back to normal for you.
Water teams and structural teams will do their thing, being the homeowner, you will have contact with them, but you will probably have the most contact with the contents team. They sort your stuff into “Non-Salvageable” and “Salvageable.” The salvageable items get taken to their warehouse to get cleaned. Yes, clothes can get washed after a fire and returned to your house. Appliances, beds, furniture, toys, and much more can get cleaned if they weren’t directly affected by the fire. Insurance won’t replace everything if it can get washed and is a common misunderstanding. Damaged items get replaced. Work with your contents team and listen to their advice about which category things fall. They are on your side and what the best for you too.
During the process, if your home is unlivable, you will be placed in a temporary housing location, utilizing your “Loss of Use” coverage on your policy. Depending on your needs and timeline for repairs, you could be in a rental house, an apartment, or a hotel.
After work is complete, life starts to return to normal. Delivery of your personal contents and new items get scheduled. You’ll have some unpack and sorting to do still; it’s not an overnight process.
Our Suggestion for Communication
During the claims process, keep all critical persons in an email chain. Including your adjuster, lead for structural repair, lead for contents, and all other working components are “CC” ed. Everyone can see what the other is saying and doesn’t allow for any he said/she said talk down the road.
As with any claim, we are here as your resource. The team that is on-site with you has the most specific information for your claim, but we are here for you too. If you need referrals on companies to use, we’ve got those also. You’ve not in this alone! Call us 317-867-5433