Smoke damage insurance claims work much like any other insurance claim. Once the fire is out, and things have calmed down, you will want to document the incident as thoroughly as possible.
Who, What, When, Where and Why
The date and the most precise time the incident happened. Beyond just knowing when the smoke damage happened, you’ll want to document, possibly with photographs, the type of damage and loss that the fire caused. The location of this damage is also of the utmost importance. If someone was injured in the fire, the insurance company would wish to know as much. If other people were involved in the fire in any way, noting their role in the incident, however small it may seem, they should be mentioned as well.
Other information the insurance company will want is the condition of your home when the incident happened. Additionally, a description of damaged contents will also be of great importance to the insurance company for determining the value of assets lost in the blaze. It is also a solid idea to note if temporary repairs or total replacements of lost assets and parts of your home where necessary. Finally, you will want a copy of the police department’s report and the fire department’s report on the incident. Some of these departments may even be willing to submit these reports to insurance companies, but more often, one will have to take the report and pass it on to the insurance company.
However, this should all be done as soon as possible because most insurance companies give their clients a specific frame of time in which they will need to receive the reports of the damage. Know that amount of time and make sure you file your claim before that due date. Also, there are going to be lots of emails and documents sent between you and your insurance company. All of these correspondences and documents should be copied and kept in a single place, ideally a large binder. Keeping all the information in one place will save you a great deal of aggravation during the claims process.
File the Claim
Beyond simple documentation, you will need to speak to a few people. Sometimes, insurance companies will send claims adjusters to determine the legitimacy of an insurance claim. These experts are paid by the insurance company to look for signs of arson or negligence, but they are not your opponent. Treating them belligerently will not lead to anything good for you, and barring truly personal details, it is best to cooperate with them.
Hire An Expert
If you are still uncomfortable speaking to the insurance adjuster, contact us to give you a free consultation. Once you hire us, we can handle the communication with the insurance company on your behalf.
Additionally, you will want to get the damage cleaned up by a professional. Cleaning the damage yourself can be hazardous after a fire, as well as making it difficult to document the exact cost of the blaze in financial terms. Additionally, most smoke damage tends to get worse when people attempt to clean with common water based cleaners, which only further complicates the claims process.