May 04, 2018 @ 12:00am one plans to have a house or apartment fire. There is no advance warning like with a snow or thunder storm. So what can you do to be prepared?

  1. The first thing is to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home and in every bedroom.Make sure you change the batteries and keep them fresh. A good way to remember is to change them all every time you adjust for daylights savings time.
  2. Second, have an evacuation plan.Make sure each household member is aware of the plan and where to meet once they have exited the house. Once you are safely out of the house call 911.

Once the fire department is there and you are in a safe place, call your family who was not with you. Let them know you are safe and bring them up to date on what has happened. You don’t want them hearing about it on Face Book or Twitter.

Next, call your insurance agent. It’s not the fire departments job to call, so don’t assume someone else is going to make that call for you. In the event you are unable to call, have a close friend or family member make the call. You want them notified as soon as possible. Don’t worry if its 2 a.m. – that’s what they are there for; to help you through situations such as these. The sooner your agent is notified, the sooner a claims adjustor can be sent to your location. Your agent can also help you deal with emergency housing and living expenses.

Do not go back into the house until you have received permission from fire officials telling you it is safe to return. Returning before you get the all clear could result in harm to you or others due to unsafe floors or walls, or even a fire that looks to be out could re-ignite. Better safe than sorry.

Once you have met with the adjustor he or she will guide you through the claims process. Fire clean up requires a special skill set and specialized equipment. You will need a fire restoration specialist; mold and mildew can start within a day of having a fire. Things you may not think to be salvageable may be. Leave the fire clean up to the professionals. You want them and your adjustor to work together to avoid any problems that will cause out of pocket expenses. Do not throw anything away until you have received the okay form your claims adjustor.

Start a list of what was in each room. Don’t rush through, take your time and go room by room. If you have access to photos to help you recall what was in each room – use them in helping to create your list. Some people keep a running inventory list in a lockbox, or a video in the cloud of what each room looked like. We recommend that you update your photos every couple of years to be sure you are update on all your property. The adjustor may have a form to help guide you on items typically found in each room of a house. Have questions; don’t hesitate to call your agent.

If you have replacement coverage the company is going to first pay you a percentage of the value of the items. Do not be alarmed. Once you replace the item the company will pay you the difference. This is done to ensure you replace the property. Insurance is to make you whole again, not to give you a profit.

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