What To Do After A Fire or Flood
When fire or flood strikes, it’s easy to fall into panic or despair. Losing your home or other assets to fire or flood is devastating, but there is hope. When these disasters happen, this is the time to call a restoration company. Depending on the level of damages, a restoration company can bring your home back to its original state, or very close to it. If the result is a total loss, a restoration company will work with your insurance company to rebuild your home. But what do you do in the immediate aftermath?
Is the Property Safe To Enter?
First, ascertain whether the property is safe to reenter or not. If there has been significant fire damage and the structure is at risk, do not go inside. If there is any possibility that entry could endanger your health or safety, it is best to leave reentry to the experts. However, in some cases the damages are limited to one room and structural damages are not significant. Make a careful examination of the property from the outside and, if you decide to enter, go slowly. If you’re not sure, call an expert.
If the property is safe to reenter, locate the items that are most valuable to you. This may include jewelry, cash, or antiques, important documents like property deeds or identifying documents, or it may include sentimental items like pictures or baby items. Removing these items will prevent them from being damaged further by water or smoke. Locating and removing valuables is also an important step to take (as long as the property is safe to enter) before calling your insurance company, as these items may be a part of the claim.
Contact Insurance Company
Whether the damage has been widespread or concentrated to one area, it is important to contact your insurance company right away. Depending on your policy, your insurance company and your restoration company can work together to rebuild your home without burdensome costs to you or your family. Your insurance policy may also cover valuables that were lost or damaged in the incident.
Photographing the damages around your home and damages done to valuables will help make the insurance process fast and accurate. Once again, if the property is safe to enter, take pictures. You can compare these to other pictures you have of your home to properly assess damages, or these pictures can be used by themselves. It is also a good idea to photograph any valuables you might make a claim on.
Secure a Residence
Whether you are staying with family, friends, in a hotel, renting an apartment temporarily , or making other arrangements, it is important to secure another residence while your home is being assessed and repaired. This may not be required if the damages were limited to a basement or another area, but it essential if your home must be reconstructed, or if the damages make the area unsafe to live in.
Your restoration company may work with your insurance company to repair your home, but you should file expenses regardless. If your insurance company and restoration contractors are not in contact, this step is even more important. You should also document expenses you incur while staying at another residence, as these may be covered.