A Home Fire – Be Prepared
I live 4 houses away and have clients within a couple houses of where this fire occurred. I thought this would be a good opportunity to let everyone know what happens in a situation like this.
If they have a good insurance company, a claim would have been filed right away (if they were home or aware of the fire). The insurance company representative would have been there within 2 hours with a debit card for essentials like food, clothes, a hotel etc. to take care of their immediate needs.
From there, the fire department will investigate the cause, the insurance company will want to make sure it was not intentional. At that point, the homeowner will start compiling a list of everything that was lost in the fire.
*It is important for everyone to have an inventory of your belongings and store that list off the property. I know I have things in boxes packed away from when we moved in in 1998 and have no idea what is in them.
Once the insurance company gets that list they will cut a check for the ACV (actual cash value) for those items. Once those items are replaced, you turn the receipts into the insurance company to get reimbursed for the replacement cost (this prevents people from just taking the money and leaving).
Depending on the amount of damage to the structure itself, either a fire restoration company gets called in to do cleanup of what can be salvaged or cleaned and remove what cannot. If there is too much damage and nothing to be salvaged, then the client will be finding a contractor to rebuild.
Your insurance company will be paying amounts that are predicated on the dwelling coverage amount on your policy. So, if you have $300,000 in dwelling coverage, they will pay up to 120-125% of that amount for the structure itself. It varies between companies and could be higher or lower depending on the coverage discussed with your agent.
They will pay typically 70-70% of the $300k for your belongings +/- $225,000 plus expenses while the house is being rebuilt for food, hotel or rental house or apartment. This amount varies even more between companies. Some will give you actual expenses based on a time limit (i.e. 12 months), some will pay up to a certain dollar amount.
If you are not sure what you have for coverage, call your agent and discuss it. After a claim like this is too late to find out you do not have the proper coverages.