13 Things to Do Now so Your Total Loss is Not A Total Lossadmin
Knowing the prevention strategies for a home fire and what to do afterwards are key to protecting your home and its contents. Also, if you don’t have your house in order, you can wind up with a total loss. As your friend, I’d like to give you some tips on how to recoup what you’ve lost. I’ve also included some tips on what to do after the fire. This way, you can have your dream home back again as soon as possible. You’ll be looking to your insurance company for relief, and it’s a savvy move to be prepared way before disaster strikes.
- Look for Signs of Home Electrical Problems: Be on the lookout for circuit breaker issues, hot ceiling fixtures, appliances that deliver shocks, flickering lights and smoke odors from electric switches.
- Get Adequate Coverage – Keep in mind that your basic homeowner’s coverage may not adequately cover valuable artwork, collectibles and jewelry. For example, jewelry may only be covered for up to $200. So, if you’ve got an expensive heirloom piece, it’s wise to opt for a rider or floater coverage to cover the replacement of your personal treasures. The last thing you need to hear after a fire is that you’re underinsured. If you need a recommendation for a good insurance agent call me.
- Know Your Stuff with a Home Inventory Sheet – Being able to pull up an up-to-date inventory of your possessions will make it easy to account for everything you own. Start by walking through your home with a pad of paper and jot down anything worth more than $50. Go room by room, including the basement, attic and garage. Be sure to include electronic equipment, clothing, jewelry, antiques and coin or stamp collections.
- Do a Video Walk-Through – Using your smart phone, film your home’s content and narrate the items as you do a walk-through. It’s fool-proof documentation that will tell a story of what you owned before the fire.
- Formalize Inventory Sheets – You can use insurance inventory forms or access free software from the Insurance Information Institute to create inventory sheets. Formalized inventory sheets are where you enter a complete description of the item, such as serial number, make and model. It also helps to write down where you can find your receipts, owner’s manual and ownership documents.
- Secure All Documentation – Save all of your home inventory documentation in a secure place. This can include a metal fireproof box or even a safety deposit box.
- Find Out if It’s Safe to Reenter – Before you go back into your home to inspect the damages, check with the fire professionals to ensure that it’s safe.
- Call Your Insurance Agent Immediately – Be sure to call your insurance agent immediately after the fire. They will let you all of your options at this point in the process, such as hiring contractors to put your home back together again.
- Get the Fire Report – You can get this report from the fire marshall or the fire department. Line Up the Pros- Set up appointments with restoration companies that can help with cleaning up soot. Many restoration companies also have good connections with architects and engineers as well.
- Separate Damaged Property from Undamaged Property – For an accurate tally of the damages, separate damaged property from undamaged property. Any items that aren’t damaged should be put in a safe place, even if it means putting these items in a storage facility.
- Cooperate with the Insurance Company Investigation – To help settle your claim in a timely manner, be sure to be available for insurance company phone calls and meetings.
- Find a Place to Stay – If you can’t live in your home, find somewhere to stay. Most homeowner’s policies include “Loss of Use” coverage. This coverage pays for the shelter, food and clothing that your family may need for a specific period of time.
- Escape Route – Always have a planned escape route in place, so everyone can escape quickly to safety.