what to do if your house burns down

What To Do If Your House Burns Down

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If you’re reading this, chances are, your house didn’t just burn down. But the thought of that situation is scary, and you should know exactly what to do if your house burns down.

Being prepared for a house fire isn’t normally something you’d think about before it happens. You take all the precautions like blowing out candles when you leave, changing the smoke detector batteries when they start to beep, following proper electrical outlet guidelines, and so on.

But you buy home insurance for those just in case moments.

House fire damage may not be common, but when it happens, here’s what you should do:

fire damage RI

1. Contact A Fire Damage Restoration Company

After the fire department is finished putting out the fire, you’re going to be left with fire damage, obviously, but also water damage, smoke damage, and potentially mold damage if you skip this step. The first thing to do when your house burns down is to contact an emergency service restoration company.  A fire damage restoration company will begin the fire, water, and smoke mitigation process.

The sooner you make this call, the less damage you’ll end up with. Thankfully, a lot of restoration companies will help you with the next step.

An emergency restoration company will also make sure that when they leave your property, your property is safe from intruders, animals, or severe weather. If you are not living at your house, this is a requirement that needs to be taken in order to comply with most homeowner’s insurance policies and prevent full or partial denial of your fire damage insurance claim. 

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2. Contact A Public Insurance Adjuster

Another crucial step is to contact a public adjusting company to begin the process of getting your home repaired or rebuilt back to normal with the money you get from your insurance company.

A public adjuster will take this stressful time and make it so much easier on you and your family. They handle all aspects of communication and negotiation with your insurance company and get you every penny you need to fix your home. After this step, you might not need to continue down this list as they take care of every aspect of the claims process for you.

Your public adjuster will document the extent of the fire damage (and other damages) and begin building an estimate of what you are owed by your insurance company in order to restore your home. They will review your insurance policy to determine exactly what is covered in the unfortunate event that your house burns down. 

3. Find Temporary Housing

If your home is deemed unsafe to live in, which most likely it is, you will need to find a place for you, your family, and your pets to live in.

Your insurance company is required to place you somewhere that is of like, kind and quality. If you live in a 2-bedroom house that is 1400 square feet, they need to give you temporary housing that is a 2-bedroom with around 1400 square feet. Most insurance companies choose to put their clients into a cheaper option like a hotel or a small Airbnb. Performance Adjusting will make sure you get into a proper unit that meets the like kind and quality requirements that you are entitled to.

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4. Get A Copy of The Fire Report

Similar to a police report, a typical fire investigation report includes the incident date, alarm and arrival time, address, estimated losses, type of building, possible human factors (if any) for ignition, and the presence of any detectors.

5. Figure Out Your Finances

If you’re working with a public adjuster, they can help you with this step, too. If you have a mortgage on your house and your house is unfit to live in, you must contact them to let them know what happened and that you will not be living in the home.

6. Recover Your Belongings

fire damage contents ri

Chances are, if your house burns down, your personal belongings will burn with it. Things like electronics, furniture, clothing, etc. will need to be accounted for in order to properly be reimbursed from your insurance company. If you don’t have a home inventory, do your best to remember the things in your home that you’d like to be paid for.

This is called contents damage and is common in any kind of property damage insurance claim. Contents refers to the contents within your home that aren’t the actual structure of your property. Your insurance policy will state a certain limit as to what they will reimburse you for after a named peril (fire, water, wind, etc.) and if you have specific riders on your policy like for jewelry or antiques.

Contents damage is always a tricky part of any insurance claim and should be left to a professional, licensed contents adjuster

7. Begin The Repair/Rebuild Process

After you’ve received a check from your insurance company, you can then begin the process of restoring your home back to normal. Again, a public adjuster will have connections to all the best local contractors to complete the numerous tasks of rebuilding or repairing your home.

Ways To Be More Prepared In Case Your House Burns Down

If your house hasn’t actually burned down, there are a few things you can do to prepare in case this does unfortunately happen.

Build An Emergency Kit

build an emergency kit in ri
Rhode Island Restoration, a local fire damage restoration company in Rhode Island, recommends that you build an emergency kit or "go-bag" to have ready to go for any potential property damage disaster.

An emergency kit or go bag contains items that you can easily grab in case of an emergency.

Create A Home Inventory

Having an inventory of every item in your home will help you in case any of it is damaged in a fire, water, or storm loss. Be sure to be specific about the item’s cost, condition, where it came from, and when it was purchased.

Invest In A Fire Proof Safe

fireproof safe
This fireproof (and waterproof!) safe from Sentry Safe is inexpensive and well worth the price.

A fire (and water) proof safe will protect your essential items from a disaster. Things like birth certificates, cash, passports, family photos, and other items that cannot be recovered after a disaster should be placed here.

Know Your Insurance Policy

In the unfortunate event of a house fire, you have enough to worry about without wondering what your insurance will cover. Fortunately, accidental fires are typically covered in your basic homeowner’s insurance policy and don’t require special coverage.

You’ll still want to be familiar with your policy before an emergency happens. For example, you will want to know how much your home is covered for and what is included in that coverage. There are four basic types of coverage to consider, dwelling coverage, contents coverage, loss of use coverage, and personal liability coverage.

We recommend reviewing your coverage limits for each to ensure that your home and belongings are adequately covered.

Have A Public Adjuster & Restoration Company You Trust On Speed Dial

After a disaster, it’s understandable that your mind will be all over the place. Having to worry about who to call other than 911 should not even be a thought on your mind. Be sure to do your research on the best restoration company and best public adjuster before any sort of property damage and plug their names and numbers in your phone.

Create An Escape Plan For You, Your Family, And Your Pets

An escape plan is necessary to have in any disaster.

Best Public Adjuster For Fire Damage

Not to brag, but we at Performance Adjusting are the best public adjusters for fire damage. Not only do we have a full staff of adjusters, contents adjusters, estimators, and a full financial team, but we have been handling claims for homeowners for the past 16 years. We know exactly what to look for during a claim to make sure the homeowner is paid fairly and we do everything we can to make such a draining process less stressful.

hire a public adjuster for house fire damage in RI
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We handle your property damage insurance claim so that you don’t have to. Since 2005, we’ve been getting homeowners and business owners the most money for their property damage all while they sit back and relax. The best part of it all? There are no upfront costs or hidden fees, we only get paid when you get paid.

Your insurance company has an adjuster on their side, so why shouldn't you?


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