Next Steps After Experiencing Fire Damage
You might think that the very first thing to do is call your insurance
provider. While you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, there are some things you
should consider before picking up the phone.
1. Should You File a Claim?
Automatically filing a claim might seem like the natural first step in the
aftermath of a fire. If the fire only caused minor damage, however, filing
a claim could end up unnecessarily raising your insurance rates. The cost
of covering repairs for a small fire is sometimes below the deductible
amount. This may make it easier and more efficient to simply pay out of
If you think the damage is minor enough that you’ll pay out of pocket,
call your local restoration contractor first.
They can evaluate the damage and give you an idea of the cost before you
involve your insurance company.
2. Consider Business Interruption Coverage
When there is major damage to your business or property, one of your
biggest concerns is likely the loss of revenue from the interruption to
business operations. Though business interruption coverage is often
included in the overall insurance policy, it can get complicated. Before
speaking with your insurance company, read over your policy to see if
business interruption coverage is included and how much it covers.
You should specifically mention filing a business interruption claim to
your insurance agent if you will need it. Be prepared to bring in experts
to evaluate the situation and provide comprehensive financial
documentation to prove the impact of losing business due to the damage. As
these types of claims are complicated, insurance providers can sometimes
deny them or offer a reduced amount to simply resolve the claim. You may
have to involve a lawyer to ensure your claim is fairly resolved.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
If the damage to your business or property is extensive, you should
contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They can review your
policy with you and talk you through the steps you need to take to submit
your claim. After your claim is reported, your insurance company will send
an adjuster to assess the damage. Follow these tips to prepare for the
adjuster and ensure the claims process goes as smoothly as possible:
Take photos of the damage. Before the adjuster visits, make sure
to thoroughly photograph or record a video of the property.
Compile necessary business records.To properly file your claim,
you will need to collect any relevant business documents to prove the
value of the damaged property. This includes proof of income generated
from the business, inventory records, receipts that show the cost of any
damaged equipment. If you have it, also provide any records that might
help prove the cost of the structures that were damaged.
Keep records of repair expenses. After the adjuster has visited,
you should continue to keep track of any costs incurred to repair the
property. This includes any additional costs to protect the property
from future damage.
4. Call a Trusted Restoration Company
After filing your claim, your next step is to call a damage restoration
contractor to protect and repair your business or commercial property.
There are lots of companies out there that claim to provide these
services. To safeguard your property from further damage or complications,
it is important to hire a company that is experienced and certified.
Though your insurance provider may recommend a company, it is only a
suggestion and is still up to you to choose a trusted restoration