Working with Your Insurance Company After A Fire
For the majority of homeowners, a house fire qualifies as their worst nightmare. Losses caused by a blaze can take months or even years to fully bounce back from.
Aside from practicing some basic fire prevention at home, you can stay prepared for a worst-case scenario by understanding what happens in the aftermath of a fire. Knowing how to work with your insurance company after a loss will make the claims process go much smoother and save you from additional heartache.
Contact your insurance broker ASAP
The sooner you get the ball rolling on your claim, the sooner you and your family can start the recovery process. You or your broker can report a claim to Red River Mutual over the phone or by filling out our online claim form.
Once the report has been made, one of our Claims Specialists will be in touch with you to guide you through the process of getting your life back to normal.
Try to be as detailed as possible during the initial contact. Start a list of all of the lost or damaged possessions you can think of or send along a home inventory list if you have one ready. As best as possible, make sure your property is secured and get your family somewhere safe if your home is not inhabitable.
Get an advance
Most insurance policies will reimburse you for living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable. If you aren’t able to remain in your home after a fire, ask your broker if it’s possible to receive an advance from your insurance policy on your claim. This can help you cover the initial cost of replacing daily necessities — like hygiene items and clothing — without having to wait for your claim to be completed.
Make sure you keep receipts for everything you buy; as well as money you spend on accommodations and food. Talk to your Claims Specialist regularly. Every situation is unique and they are there to guide you through the process and ensure you receive everything your insurance policy covers you for.
Secure your property as best you can
Your insurance policy will require you to take reasonable steps to minimize further damage to your property. The key word here is “reasonable”. If the structure is unsafe to enter, don’t put yourself in harm’s way to get the job done.
If safe to do so, board up any windows and doors to protect your property from vandals, cover holes with tarps and turn off the water, gas and electricity. Check back on the house regularly to make sure no one has been on the property while you’re away.
It is also important that nothing be thrown away without discussing this with your adjuster first.
You will have paperwork and receipts to keep track of during this process. Ensure you keep them accessible so you can provide them to your Claims Specialist when needed.
Find out how much repairs or rebuilding will cost
The amount you receive to repair or rebuild your home will depend on whether your policy has “actual cash value” or “replacement cost” coverage.
Actual cash value means the cost at the time of the loss to repair or replace your property less depreciation for its age or condition.
Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, means the cost at the time of the loss to repair or replace your property with new property of similar kind and quality.
Know your policy
Your home insurance policy is an important tool to get you back on your feet after a devastating event. Knowing what your policy includes before you need to use it will help put your mind at ease if you ever have to make a claim.
In the event that you have to make a claim on your insurance policy, ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand. Your Claims Specialist is there to help.
Contact a Red River Mutual insurance broker today to make sure you’re covered for whatever life throws at you.