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5 Tips for Fire Damage Insurance Claims

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fire insurance claimsHomeowners who suffer property damage or loss due to fire will expect their insurance to give them relief, with different levels of success. Here are some tips to deal with your insurance providers and their adjustors.

1. Have an Advance

If you had to vacate your home, you might not have got a chance to grab basic things like clothes you wear at work or toothbrush! Your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover the price to replace these items, but you need not file a claim and get it approved before approaching a department store to buy those clothes you need for work. Instead, you can ask your company for an advance payment against your subsequent claim. Ask company’s representative to bring a check to you where you are staying, may that be a friend’s house or a hotel. Maintain the receipts of your every purchase and be reasonable while buying things.

2. Securing Your Property

Every insurance policy needs you to take practical measures to minimize the damage to your property in legalese, which is called your duty to “mitigate damages”. They are just common-sense steps and include:

Stop Smoldering: After a fire, if the construction is still burning, contact fire department to the needful to avoid a flare up.

Preventing Vandalism: You should board up the property and should consider erecting a portable fence to keep vandals away.

Vigilance: You may be required to keep a keen eye on your property, to avoid new problems and ensuring that it is not disturbed.

3. File Claim Immediately

All the policies require the insurers to report their loss immediately as far as possible. You can meet these terms by calling your agent or through an email. You will be asked to produce a “proof of loss claim” after that, wherein you have to itemize your losses and evaluate them. If you delay in reporting your company, you may come far down on the list when it is time for the company to send an adjustor regarding your claim.

4. Ensure about Company’s Promptness

Fortunately, insurance companies need to act upon claims in a timely manner. E.g. in California, they need to send you a “notice of intentions” before or within 30 days of your claim. If there is not any dispute about the coverage, you are allotted payment within this period too. if you don’t hear from your company within a stipulated period, write to them (also consider sending a copy to the Insurance Department of your state).

5. Tracking your Living Expenses

Your homeowner’s policy includes a clause – “loss of use”. This entitles you to reimburse for your living expenses when you are out of your home. But, you are entitled to extra living expenses only, i.e. the difference between the cost of living in your home and that of now. E.g. if you ate most of the times at home before the fire and spent a $300 weekly on grocery, but are now spending $400 weekly at restaurants, you can claim for only $100.

This article is sponsored by Fire Damage Miami – an excellent guidance for fire damage claims.

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