Across the United States, there was a home fire reported nearly every minute and a half in 2014. Despite how common these fires are, many homeowners find themselves confused and unsure how to proceed in the aftermath of one. As a new homeowner, it's in your best interest to understand the basics of what to expect following a house fire. Here are a few things you should know in case of a home fire.
What Happens When You Call The Insurance Company?
While most homeowners will understand that they need to call the insurance company right away in the event of a fire, many have no idea what will happen once they do. The initial call to your insurance company will set the claim process into motion. An adjuster from the insurance company will come out to your house to evaluate the home and assess the extent of the damage. This has to happen before the insurance company can offer you a settlement.
What Can You Expect Of The Meeting With the Adjuster?
Most insurance companies strive to have an adjuster on site for claims as quickly as possible. You can usually expect to see an adjuster within a day or two of filing the claim. It's important to do it right away because it ensures that the adjuster sees the damage in its complete form without any further issues like those caused by weather.
It's a good idea to have your insurance inventory with you when you meet the adjuster. This provides you with details of what items were damaged or lost. You'll want to do a walkthrough of the house, during which the adjuster will make a note of all of the damage. Ask to see the list after the walkthrough so that you can compare it to your own. Some adjusters will even provide you with a copy.
How Can You Document Damage On Your Own?
In addition to the adjuster's documentation, you may actually want to compile documentation of the damage on your own. You don't need anything extensive for this. A disposable camera is usually sufficient, especially if it has a built-in flash. If there's a photographer on the scene from the fire department or the Fire Marshal's office, you can even ask for copies of the pictures from them.
Store your copies of the documentation somewhere safe. That way, you'll have them if you need evidence to support a request for a higher settlement. If you're looking to negotiate with the insurance company, you may be able to show that the damage was more extensive than the adjuster may have claimed.
What If You Disagree With The Adjuster?
One of the best things you can do is to call a public adjuster after you call the insurance company. That way, you have information to fall back on if you disagree with the insurance company's adjuster. A public adjuster is an independent party, which means that you'll get an objective evaluation of the property. Sometimes, having a public adjuster complete an inspection will help you negotiate a higher payment from the insurance company. With your documentation and that of a public adjuster, you can support your request. Companies like Skipton Claims Management may be able to meet your needs in this area.