If a fire has engulfed your home or damaged any part of it, you’re probably devastated and stressed, even if you have robust home insurance coverage. However, it’s wrong to think that the insurers will promptly cough up the money you think you’re entitled to.
It’ll likely be a long, drawn-out process that could get contentious. That’s why it helps to be systematic and methodical in the aftermath of a house fire.
Here are a few tips that will guide you in the event of such a catastrophe.
Ensure Your Coverage Matches Rising Construction Costs
The cost to repair or rebuild a home after a fire is the heart of any insurance policy. It’s common to have inflation protection, where the coverage you’ll get and monthly premiums you pay rise together in proportion to each other.
Lately, construction costs are rising faster than inflation despite the latter’s recent surge. This means that the cost of fixing or rebuilding your home could be considerably more money than it cost when you originally took out your insurance policy.
To gauge local building costs, try getting a quote from a builder in your neighbourhood about how much it costs to build a home there per square foot.
Revisit Contents Coverage
Depending on when you purchased your insurance policy, the content coverage could be considerably out of date. Just try to think about all the electronics, clothes, and other consumer goods you’ve purchased in the last calendar year, and then think about how many years ago you bought your insurance.
Are you sure that your current coverage reflects your current needs? Be familiar with your coverage limit and mindful of how your shopping habits rub up against it.
There will be a set of special limits pertaining to luxury items like jewels, furs, or fine art. Tracking this as you go will bolster any potential insurance claim and make it easier to submit. If a fire consumes your home, you may leave out an item from any such list.
If you’re unsure about this and are wondering who to hire for help, consider obtaining a property damage lawyer to negotiate with your insurance company.
Intel Gathering for Additional Living Expenses Coverage
When homes are deemed unlivable due to a fire, Additional Living Expenses provide coverage for families to live elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if smoke damage renders the home unsuitable for habitation or if there’s nothing left of the home but rubble — insurance coverage will usually pay for families to move into a hotel or motel for a reasonable period until a rental home or condo is ready.
It’s a good idea to see beforehand that the insurance coverage is ample by comparing it to local rents in your area. The insurance policy should be sufficient to maintain your current standard of living. If rent and other essentials exceed the insurance payout, you don’t have enough coverage.
Communicate New Home Touch-ups with Your Insurer
Anyone rebuilding their home after a fire might take the opportunity to add a renovation or upgrade its flooring or fixtures. That’s fine! But ensure your insurance company knows you intend to pay for this out of pocket.
The insurance company could get angry if they think you’re trying to get them to pay more than they owe. Avoid these headaches by communicating with them fully before your contractor gets to work. A property damage lawyer can help with these communications.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.