When your house or business catches fire, the process of getting the damage repaired can seem overwhelming and expensive. Let’s dive deeper into how to deal with your insurance company after a fire to ensure that you get the best possible coverage you can.
Call the Disaster Relief Company First
This is something that a lot of people get wrong. It’s easy to think that you would want to call your insurance company first to file a claim, but once the emergency is over, the fire is out, and it’s safe for people to go inside the building to assess the damage, you should call your local disaster relief company. They’ll come over to look at the building and give you advice on whether you should involve insurance at all.
Don’t try to clean anything up during the assessment stage. It’s tempting, but you’ll need to keep a record of the damages to give to your insurance. Otherwise, your claim may be denied.
Another reason why you want to call the disaster relief company first is that if you do need to file an insurance claim, they’ll be the ones handling most of the negotiations with your insurance. They’ll help you assess the damage, making sure to take lots of pictures to document what happened, and they’ll help fight to get you the money you need.
You have the right to choose which restoration company to use, and if you call your insurance company first, they may try to pressure you into choosing one of their partner providers (also called “preferred providers”). This isn’t good for you, because often, these companies won’t have your best interests at heart. They will likely have pricing arrangements set up with the insurance company that benefit the insurance provider more than you.
File an Insurance Claim
If the damage is severe enough and your fire cleanup company tells you that insurance should get involved, you will need to file a claim. As we said, the disaster relief company itself will often be the ones dealing with the insurance company and negotiating on your behalf afterward, but you will need to file the initial claim.
The insurance company will assign you an adjuster. During your conversations with the insurance agent, you’ll need to ask about your coverage, and how much of the repairs are covered by your plan.
To avoid potential health risks, you will likely need to relocate and live in a different place while your house is being repaired. In some cases, your insurance will cover the cost of relocation or food during the time you don’t have access to your house or kitchen. Be sure to bring up questions about these sorts of things when you’re negotiating with your insurance provider.
Dealing with a natural disaster can be very stressful, but it’s important to take a deep breath and understand that it can take a while before things get back to normal. Be patient, not only with the insurance and disaster relief companies but also with yourself.