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A Guide to Handling House After a Fire
Did you know that a house fire is one of the biggest disaster threats in the US? It has even become a major threat during this COVID pandemic, as most families stay at home. In fact, the fire cases have a16-percent increase during the first three months of this year compared to the first few months of last year. As such, the American Red Cross handled about17,000 house fires from January to March.
It’s good if the fire outbreak has spared you and your family’s lives. However, it can cause an immense amount of damage to your property. As such, you have no choice but to deal with its aftermath. You must ensure that your residential property will be restored and that your insurance will cover the house damage.
Here’s what you need to do after a house fire:
Consider safety first
During the fire, the whole household will be looking for a way to get out of the house right away. For your reference, consider these recommendations from the American Red Cross once a house fire starts. But as always, prevention is better than cure. Be sure to consider these home fire preparedness tips as well.
However, keep in mind that you must stay out once you manage to escape from the fire. It isn’t recommended to get back and try to salvage some of your household items. The best course of action is to contact your local firefighter as soon as possible. Leave your property to the fire expert. After all, safety will always be a top priority.
A homeowners insurance policy is a type of property insurance that covers the losses and damage to a property and its asset. In most cases, it ensures the property with damage caused by disasters such as fire, storm, flood, and even earthquake. However, the coverage varies from one policy to another.
Once you’ve managed to get out, call your insurance provider immediately. It would help if you informed your insurance about the house fire and the severity of the situation. While you’re at it, ask if your insurance covers fire damage, what the requirements are, and how to file a claim. The sooner you inform your insurance provider, the quicker your insurance claim process will be.
Inspect your house
Once the fire is over, you can go ahead and return to your residential property. However, do so if and only if the proper authority declares it is safe to go back. At this point, your goal is to inspect your house and assess the severity of the damage. Be sure to take photos and document them for insurance requirements.
First, check to see if the fire has completely razed your house and if it did, plan on your temporary abode. If not, here are some things to check:
Check for structural damage:
- Outside of your house (damaged power lines, broken gas lines, foundation cracks, etc.)
- Inside your house (jammed doors and windows, damaged furniture and staircases, sagging ceiling and flooring, etc.)
- Household items (foods, beverages, medications, cleaning products, chemicals, etc.)
Check utilities and systems:
- Phone lines
- Electrical system
- Plumbing system
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
Save undamaged possessions
Once you have a thorough inspection of your house, you can organize all your possessions. Be sure to separate the damaged possessions from the undamaged ones. Keep in mind that the undamaged items must be cleaned and set aside in a safe place.
On the other hand, assess if the damaged items can still be repaired or if they must already be tossed out. It’s best to have a list of these salvageable items in the wreckage for your insurance company. Who knows? Their repairs will be included in the coverage.
Handling house after a fire: hire a house restoration service
It’s good to work with a house restoration service after the fire. In most cases, your insurance provider will provide you with some recommendations for restoration service providers. However, you can get search online or get some referrals from friends and neighbors.
When filtering your options, ask for their credentials and get feedback from past clients. When deciding, strike a balance between their service costs and service quality. For the most, your hired service provider will perform house cleaning, repairs, and full restoration.
A house fire is a serious concern of every family, especially during this pandemic. While you don’t want this to happen, you must always be prepared and ready. Should a fire occur, consider the key steps outlined above, from ensuring safety to contacting the insurance to hiring a restoration service. With all these crucial steps, you’ll ensure a successful property restoration. Ultimately, your family will be able to rise above this situation.