The First 3 Things to Do If Your House Burns Down | Hippo
It’s easier to recover from a house fire with a plan of action.
Imagine coming home to find that everything you own has been destroyed. the roof has been reduced to a giant skylight. all your belongings have turned to a heap of ashes and the only walls left standing are a somber pitch black. that’s what happened to ariel henley, twice.
Reading: What happens if your house burns down with insurance
After a house fire, victims often feel scared and upset. some may feel confused or emotionally distressed. accepting what happened and deciding what to do next can be challenging. but take a deep breath. reach out to your loved ones and let them know you are safe. then follow the steps below and get your life back on track.
contact your insurance company
If you lose your home in a fire, the standard homeowners insurance policy will cover the cost of the damage. just be sure to report the loss as soon as possible. click to tweet
If you lose your home in a fire, the standard homeowners insurance policy will cover the cost of the damage. just be sure to report the loss as soon as possible. you’ll want to contact your agent or broker and file a claim right away. report how, when and where the damage occurred. and if possible, include photos and videos. an adjuster will likely come to your property to inspect the damage. cooperate fully with their investigation to resolve your claim in a timely and efficient manner.
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at hippo we developed a 24/7 claims concierge team to assist our clients and offer an empathetic ear and the on-the-ground support needed to get clients back on their feet (from reservations from hotel to coordination of the cleaning service).
get a copy of your fire report
A fire report will show the state the home was in when first responders arrived on the scene. It will also include important information, such as the time and date of the incident and the incident number, that your insurance company may eventually need. In most places, a fire report is a public document. Call your local fire department, fire prevention office, or fire marshal for a copy of your report. if you can’t trace it, consider contacting the fire department’s billing agency. in certain areas, the fire incident report may need to be attached to the fire department bill.
get your finances in order
You will also need to contact your landlord or mortgage lender after a fire. continue to make monthly payments even if your house was completely destroyed (and car payments if your vehicle was damaged in the fire). click to tweet
You will also need to contact your landlord or mortgage lender after a fire. continue to make monthly payments even if your house is completely destroyed (and car payments if your vehicle was damaged in the fire). You should also contact your credit card companies and request replacements for any cards you may have lost. keep all receipts and keep a detailed record of all purchases you made while you were on the move.
Since there is no way to predict when a house will burn down, there is no such thing as being overly prepared for the worst case scenario. There are several steps you should take now so you won’t be caught completely off guard if smoke and flames suddenly fill your home.
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First, if you have insurance, make sure you have adequate coverage. Spend some time considering the true value of your possessions and how much it would cost to replace them. consider taking a video and creating an inventory of all the items in your home. keep it in a safe place, like a safe deposit box, and make a digital backup in the cloud, dropbox or google drive.
If you haven’t already done so, you should start building an emergency fund. experts suggest setting aside enough money to cover living expenses for at least three to six months. You may have to dip into your emergency fund after a house fire, but hopefully you’ll be able to replenish it eventually.
It’s also a good idea to invest in fire extinguishers and fire escape ladders for every second story window in your home. Install smoke detectors (or better yet, smart smoke detectors) in every room so everyone has a chance to get out safely if there’s a fire. and take the time to meet with your family members and create a plan with escape routes. As often as possible, schedule fire drills so everyone knows where to meet if anyone smells smoke or sees any evidence of fire.
Finally, be sure to familiarize yourself with your insurance policy. Know what is covered so you understand what will be taken care of and what you will have to pay for in the event of a fire.
litmus test – wip