The holidays are one of the riskiest times of the year when it comes to house fires. Statistically, there are more fires over the winter holidays than
The holidays are one of the riskiest times of the year when it comes to house fires. Statistically, there are more fires over the winter holidays than at any other time of year. They’re caused by electrical problems, accidents involving Christmas trees, cooking accidents, and candles.
Experiencing a fire over the holidays is a difficult experience on its own. As tough as it can be at any time of the year, it’s especially challenging having to find a temporary place to live at a time of year when many enjoy spending time with family at home.
These tips can help you deal with your insurance claim and make the process a smooth one.
#1 Get Help with Major Claims
While you should be able to handle minor claims on your own, if your home has seen significant damage due to a fire, the financial stakes are too high to handle without help. Hiring an insurance lawyer may be worthwhile if the damages are significant.
#2 Wait Until Your Claim Is Over to Change Insurers
Often people want to change their homeowners insurance after a fire claim. They may have seen their premiums rise, or they may be unhappy with the way the insurer handled the claim.
Shopping your home insurance around can help you save on premiums, but you should wait until your claim has been completed. Few if any insurers will offer you a new policy until your claim is settled.
#3 Thoroughly Document Lost Belongings
An important part of the insurance claims process is documenting belongings that need to be replaced. You will need to create a comprehensive list of everything lost in the fire. Proof of ownership is important as well, and you may need receipts or photos of the belongings in your home.
#4 Get a Second Opinion on Structural Damage
In addition to lost belongings, there will also be an evaluation of necessary repairs to your home. The insurance adjuster may bring in a builder to evaluate the damage done to your home, but there is not necessarily a standard way of evaluating those damages.
This can lead to disagreements about what needs to be done. If you believe more repairs are required than what the insurance adjuster has said, you can bring in your own contractor or engineer to provide their opinion and submit it to the insurance company.
#5 Get a Cash Advance
The costs of recovering after a fire start right away. You need to rent a hotel and later find a short or long-term rental. You may have to rely exclusively on takeout for meals until you settle into a rental home. You also need to replace clothes, laptops for work and school, medications, and more.
Put that on top of holiday credit card debt, and you can find yourself in a tough financial situation. To ease financial stress you can request a cash advance from the insurance company so that funds will be readily available right from the beginning.