A family home on Clay Street in Montgomery has been damaged after a fire broke out on a recent early morning. All occupants were able to escape without injury. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly, but not prior to the home experiencing significant damage from smoke and flame. Investigations are ongoing into the cause of the fire.
Damage from fire to your home can leave you feeling devastated and at a loss as to how to move forward to get life back to normal. Filing a claim and taking steps immediately after the fire can help you prevent additional loss and ensure you’re compensated for your claim as quickly as possible. The following are some guidelines to follow after a house fire.
- Secure the house as best you can
The fire may have damaged your home, and firefighters may have been required to break windows or doors in order to control the blaze. In order to keep away vandals or thieves, and to protect as much as possible the valuable items left in your home, board up any holes or broken windows, and use tarps to cover holes in the roof to protect against the elements.
- Hire an experienced cleaning and restoration company
If damage in your home from the fire isn’t extensive, you may only need the help of a company experienced in cleaning smoke and water damage for it to be habitable. Ask your insurance company for suggestions of reliable local companies to use for these services.
- File a claim as soon as possible
Your insurer will need you to file a claim as soon as you can after the fire. Doing so quickly will also ensure that your claim is paid out as soon as possible. Additionally, if you have “replacement” coverage for personal items in your home under your policy and need to replace personal items such as toiletries and clothing while you wait for your claim to be paid out, you may be able to get an advance on the payment of your claim from your insurer to buy such items. Save these receipts to later send to your insurer.
- Begin sorting your possessions and create an inventory
While many of your possessions may have been destroyed in the fire or by smoke damage, some may have survived. Sorting through your possessions will allow you an opportunity to catalog the items that were damaged to report to your carrier later, and will also offer you a chance to remove your undamaged possessions and possibly put them in storage to keep them safe while you’re not staying in the home.
- If your insurance company refuses to pay your entire claim, consider retaining legal assistance
Ideally, your insurer pays your entire claim as reported by you, and you don’t feel shorted by the eventual payout. However, insurance companies do benefit from paying you less, and they may fight the valuation of the items you lost in the fire. If you believe that you’re entitled to greater recovery under your policy, it may be necessary to find an attorney who can help you recover fully.
If you have experienced a fire in your home and need assistance in being fully compensated by your insurer, contact the skilled Montgomery accident attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation on your claim, at 334-262-1911.