Tips For Filing Your Fire Damage Claim
Has your home or property been damaged as a result of the local Sierra Vista Monument fire? Here are some tips that may help you file your claim with your homeowner's insurance company:
1. Know Your Policy. After a fire, you are probably looking at your fire damaged home and property wondering.."What exactly should I include in my fire damage claim?". The truth is...it all depends on your insurance policy and the type of coverage you have. The very first thing you should do is locate a copy of the actual policy and the contract that you've signed with your insurance company. If you don't have one, or it's buned, contact your insurance company and have them provide you with one. Once you have your policy, read it carefully, highlight everything that's covered and underline everything that you are unsure of. Sit down with someone from your insurance company and ask them to clarify anything you are uncertain of. Once you are completely clear of your policy, you should have a much better idea of what is covered, and what to include in your fire damage insurance claim.
2. Get Damage, Repair, and Destruction Estimates IN WRITING. The next step in filing a fire damage insurance claim is getting an estimate of the damages. When you do this, make sure you get copies of eveything in writing. The insurance company will ask for this and use it in determining your payout. If your house will require repairs and rebuilding, be sure to get written estimates of this as well.
3. Gather All of the Required Information. Every company is different in what they require in a fire damage insurance claim, but there is some essential information that almost all companies will ask for. These items include things like: the date of the fire, the location of the damage, a report on the condition of the home, a complete damages list, repair estimates, and estimates of all replacement needs.
4. Keep All Documentation. It is always better to be safe than sorry when going through the process of filing a fire damage insurance claim...KEEP EVERYTHING. Make copies of every single piece of paper, every estimate and every receipt that you have. Keep it together in a folder, you never know when you will need it or what your insurance company might ask for. The insurance company may have several different adjusters assigned to your case and you will want to make sure that your claim is being processed smoothly.
5. Keep a Notebook of all Conversations. Document each conversation in your notebook and include the following:
- Date and time of phone call/meeting
- Full name of person you spoke with
- Items and tasks discussed
- Next steps to be taken, deadline for completion and who is responsible
- Ask how to proceed and what forms or documents will be needed to support your claim.
- Ask if any information is needed from the fire department in order to process your claim. If so, what type of information?
- Again, if you are receiving money from the insurance company, be sure you understand where it is coming from and how it affects what other settlements you expect and accept.
- Ask how to proceed and what forms or documents will be needed to support your claim. Again, ask how accepting procedures along the way affects your ability to question anything later.
Ask when someone from the insurance company will arrive to assess the damage.
Name of insurance representative:
6. Some Common Questions to Ask and Discuss With Your Insurance Carrier:
- Will my insurance pay for temporary housing or business relocation?
- Should I sign a contract with a repair contractor right away?
- What notices must I give?
- What constitutes “Proof of Loss” and what are my contractual “Duties after a Loss”?
- What is Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) versus Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”)?
- Do I have Extended Coverage, Business Loss Coverage and Consequential Loss Coverage?
- Will my policy cover restorations that meet new building codes?
- What does it mean to mitigate my damages?
- What are my duties under the policy?
- Will I be covered should theft or vandalism occur following the fire?
- Will my vehicles be covered if damaged or destroyed by the fire?