Home and business owners deal with more than just fire damage after a fire—there are other issues that need to be addressed as well. Smoke and water damage is not a joke and you often need the help of professionals to clean and remove them. Without proper cleaning techniques and the right equipment, it can be quite difficult to restore a home or business after it’s damaged by fire and smoke. In addition to cleaning, filing a smoke claim can also be challenging as well.
There are a couple of important things you need to know before you file a fire and smoke claim. Educating yourself about these matters will help make it easier for you to go about claiming your insurance faster and without any trouble.
SMOKE CLAIM: WHAT IS SMOKE DAMAGE?
First things first: before we can file a smoke claim, you need to understand what constitutes smoke damage and what you can do to claim your insurance without any trouble.
Smoke damage is defined as both the odor and physical residue left behind by the burning of materials after a fire. Wood, plastics, fabrics and other materials create a different odors and residues when burned. Some items, like synthetics, leave behind black, oily residues. Other items such as paper and cotton leave behind a more powdery residue. You need to use different types of cleaning products and employ a variety of cleaning techniques to safely and completely remove smoke damage. More often than not, removing fire and smoke damage requires the help of professionals and specific equipment.
Below is a list of items that are commonly affected by smoke damage after a fire:
- Window Treatments
- Books and Photographs
If left untreated, smoke damage can leave unsightly stains, corrosion, discolorations, and permanent damage behind.
FILING A SMOKE DAMAGE INSURANCE CLAIM
Cleaning up after a fire can be a very overwhelming and daunting experience. After all, fire is only partly responsible for the damage to your home or business. Many people also have to deal with water damage and smoke damage throughout their homes. Although fire may not have damaged or burned all of your possessions, there’s a chance that smoke damage have rendered them way beyond repair too. When this happens, filing a smoke claim can help. But knowing how to file a smoke damage claim could make a difference in getting a speedy payout or winning a fight against adjusters.
Below are a couple of useful steps you can use to effectively file your smoke damage insurance claim.
1.Call Your Insurance Company ASAP
Contact your insurer right away the minute you suspect smoke damage. The longer you wait, the more your insurance provider might challenge the legitimacy of your claim. Take note that claims can be lengthy, so it would be in your best interest to get a head start on process. After placing a call to your insurance company, a representative can explain the kind of supporting documentation you need to move the process forward.
2.Evaluate Your Declarations Page
When you receive your insurance policy, you probably may have kept it into the back of your cabinet and forgot about it Now that you actually need to use it, it’s time for you to read the fine print. You can find many important details regarding your policy on the “declarations page.” This would give you valuable information on the extent of your policy’s coverage. In addition, you’d also know your expected deductible, limitations and exclusions and so much more. This will also give you information on filing deadlines for your smoke claim.
It’s time for you to start collecting supporting documentation needed by your claims adjuster. Some evidences you can try to gather are as follows:
- Date of the incident leading to losses
- Copies of police reports
- Contact information
- Type of damages your home and/or business suffered from (for example, water damage or smoke damage)
- Receipts for hotels/motels (if you had to find alternative lodging)
At this junction, you’d also have to provide estimation for repairs and damages. Make sure you back your claims with plenty of photographic evidence and a complete inventory. Your insurer can provide you with an inventory sheet, or you can download an app to keep track of the possessions that got damaged.
A claims adjuster may visit your home or business after reviewing all the evidence you submitted. After performing an independent investigation, the adjuster can dispute your estimate with an offer. It’s important to note that claims adjusters start low in order to save company money. Never accept the first offer without talking to an attorney first. It’s always a good idea to keep negotiating until you both arrive at a number you can accept.
Hiring a Licensed Public Adjuster for Smoke Claim Insurance
Getting help from a reliable public adjuster company that provides insurance claim help a great idea to process your claims faster.
Experienced public adjusters have firsthand experience in handling smoke and fire damage insurance claims. With their help, you will be able to get a payout up to three times higher than your insurance company’s initial offer! Not all public adjusters are the same so it makes good sense to do your research before you commit to one. Remember, you are doing this for yourself too.
Fires in general are devastating, but dealing with your insurance company after a fire, can be even more painful and stress inducing. People often have a hard time thinking clearly when dealing with the complexities of insurance companies as well as all the paperwork involved.
A fire can bring a lot of stress into our life, and it can even bring irreparable damages to businesses. But how you react to the situation will determine how efficiently and quickly you can recover. Keep a level head, be proactive, and follow the guide laid out in this article to help you when filing your smoke damage claim. Good luck!