How many times have you doubted whether or not you left the stove on? Curling iron? Candles lit? Are you sure you put out that cigarette all the way? We try to be as careful as we can when it comes to fire safety but unfortunately accidents do happen. It can take a while to get over the loss you suffer if you become a victim of fire damage. It can be very emotionally draining but there are things you can do to make the recovery process easier when disaster strikes.
Don’t Go Back In. Safety is the most important thing when it comes to the moments after fire damage. You’ll be tempted to run inside to see what can be salvaged or start fixing things. Don’t do it. Only fire fighters and emergency responders will be able to tell you when or if it’s safe to return to a fire damaged structure. Nothing is worth risking your life for.
Call Your Insurance Agent. Before we talk about this step, it’s important to note how important insurance is, whether it’s renter’s or home owner’s, it is never a bad idea to be fully covered. Make sure to get a policy that will cover you in case of a fire. Assuming you are covered with insurance, the first thing you need to do after a fire is contact your agent. Not only will they tell you what you need to do in order to get money to repair your damages, they can help assist you with immediate action. If you had a sprinkler system go off you will need to start pumping out water. If doors and windows were damaged, you’ll need to get those covered. When you are overwhelmed by fire damage, you often don’t think of these things. That’s why it’s important to get your agent on the phone so they can guide you through the process.
Make a List of What Needs Replaced. Many insurance agents will ask that you do make a list of your valuable belongings before any type of damage happens. It is a good idea to keep an up to date list because it will save you a headache if the worst happens. If you didn’t already have one, take a survey of your belongings so you can know the amount of loss you need to report to your insurance agency.
Save Your Receipts. Anything that you buy to repair your home after fire damage has the potential for reimbursement from your insurance company but you do need those receipts. If fire damage has made your home unlivable ask a friend or family member for a safe place to store all of your documentation. It will come in handy later.
Start Replacing Valuable Documents. People are often more focused on the loss of larger objects but often times various documents are damaged in fires and people don’t think to replace them until they need them. Look for birth certificates, social security cards, passports, credit cards and other valuables. It can be time consuming to get replacements of these so it’s best to get started as soon as possible.
The most important thing to remember when recovering from fire damage is to try and stay calm. If you are safe and your family is safe then everything else can be replaced. Rely on professionals like insurance agents to do the hard stuff for you, after all it’s their job.