What to do after a House Fire

House fires happen unexpectedly and are such an unpredictable force that can escalate very quickly! These fire-related accidents happen quickly and are devastating. Fires easily cause thousands of dollars in damage as well as injuries or fatalities. Everyone should take care when dealing with an open flame and understand what qualifies as a fire hazard at home. You need to know what to do after a house fire!

Most Common Causes of House Fires

  • Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires
  • Portable heaters are the second-leading cause of home fires
  • Electrical fires account for roughly 50,000 house fires and over 400 deaths per year
  • Smoking materials like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes are the leading cause of deaths in home fires
  • One-third of all house fires started by candles are ignited in the bedroom
  • Chimney fires according to the USFA accounted for 87 percent of residential heating fires

Steps to help you and your family recover after a house fire

  1. Take care of your family. Check-in with everyone to make sure they’re okay. Let extended family and friends know what happened as this is a traumatic experience and you will need support through this process. There are also crisis centers you can contact for support as well. The Red Cross and Salvation Army can help find you temporary housing, food, clothing, and medicine.
  2. Contact your insurance. You’ll want to open a claim immediately and request a cash advance for your essential needs and request temporary housing.As the insured, you are required to report the damage and protect the property from further damages by boarding up broken windows and tarping the roof if possible. Do not move or throw anything away as this is evidence to support your claim
  3. Request a copy of the fire report or incident report number. You canget this from the fire department and will be required by your insurance company to clear coverage for your claim.
  4. Get your finances in order. Call the utility companies, mortgage, landlord, and tax office and explain to them what happened and what their process is for property owners after a fire.
  5. Replacing valuable documents and money. If money is partially burnt, handle it with care and place the bills into a plastic bag as you can take it to your regional Federal Reserve bank to get it replaced. You’ll also want to start the process with replacing driver’s licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, etc.… You can visit FEMA for more details.
  6.  Start getting organized. You’ll want to start creating an inventory of your personal property. You can use old photos, receipts, or bank statements to help support your list. Most stores keep purchases on file for up to five years to which you can request copies. You’ll want to list the item’s description, place of purchase, the cost of purchase, and the condition or age of the item purchased. This can be very difficult and time-consuming and we at Disaster Recovery Adjusters LLC have the tools and resources to help properly document and organize your list to expedite the recovery process, so you’ll be able to restore your property and get back to normal life as quickly as possible. We also help property owners pre-loss document their property in case of a catastrophic event occurs in the future.
  7. Communicating with your insurance company. Keep track of all communications with your insurance company. Be sure to follow up with the adjuster in an email about phone conversations or onsite visits to ensure what the adjuster said is documented and accurate or write it down and time stamp it.
  8. Determine your property’s damage by receiving repair estimates. Whether you use a Public Adjuster or contractor be sure to do your due diligence. Ask for referrals and references, check licensing, make sure they are bonded and carry insurance, and they specialize in your type of project. Contractors are not licensed to represent an insured or negotiate with the insurer by law, with harsh punishments to the extent of serious jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. They are allowed to provide scopes of repairs only.
  9. You may want to consider hiring a Public Adjuster. We at Disaster Recovery Adjusters LLC will prepare detailed scope and cost estimates to prove the loss to the insurance company, following a disaster. We’re experts in the details and language of insurance policies, as well as filing and adjusting claims. Disaster Recovery Adjusters use sophisticated software to undergo an independent evaluation of a client’s property loss. We aren’t just better equipped to estimate the costs incurred from a property loss — we know exactly how to log and submit initial and supplemental claims for the policyholder. We have the resources and expertise to determine all coverages available, document the damages, estimate replacement cost, inventory personal or business property, calculate living expenses, and business interruption to negotiate and obtain a fair settlement from the insurance company. We are licensed professionals who work for individuals and businesses, not insurance companies!

Public Adjuster State Licensing and Service Area

Covering the entire States of Pennsylvania, Ohio & Virginia:
Public Adjuster Licensing in: PA #877366 | OH #1256395 | VA #1154491
Erie 814-882-7797 Pittsburgh 412-448-0141 Cleveland 216-208-2294 Centreville 571-448-1325

Pennsylvania Department of Insurance | Ohio Department of Insurance | Virginia Department of Insurance

Insurance Claims Public Adjusters

Public Insurance Claims Adjusters are by law, experts who work exclusively for the policyholder and never for the insurance company. Following a disaster, Public Insurance Claims Adjusters prepare detailed scope and cost estimates many times using experts to prove the loss. Public Insurance Claims Adjusters also review and interpret the insurance policy to determine covered and uncovered items and to negotiate with the insurance company to a final and fair settlement.

We handle residential or commercial property damage claims in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia from such disasters as fire, tree damage, water damage, flooding, hail, and windstorms.