Although there are many possible severe weather events in the country, statistics show that fire is the most serious threat to families and individuals. Every day, families in every state have been affected by fires at home or in their apartments. Tragically, each day, at least two families are affected by a fire in their home or apartment. In many cases, the loss of homes and personal belongings is far greater.
My husband and I were woken by 6-7 foot flames outside our bedroom window in 2009, at 2 AM. It’s not something you want or expect to have to deal.
Here are some of the most important things that everyone needs to know before such a life-altering event happens.
Before you apply for insurance, you must first video record every nook, cranny, draw, closet, outbuilding, garage, and its contents. I don’t mean personal items. A copy of the recording should be kept safe off-site. This will make it much easier to replace items if necessary.
Make sure you are covered by checking the coverage limits for Personal and Structural Items. You should be aware of any riders that may be attached, e.g. Home office limitations It was shocking to learn that they would only pay $2500 for any equipment needed to be replaced. The insurance did not cover an eighth of the loss.
Every year, review your coverage to ensure that you add any coverage to your policy. You may need additional insurance coverage if your family or life style changes. You can keep a copy of your policy on-site, or in a safe deposit box.
You should check to make sure your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other devices are in compliance with the latest codes. Also, ensure that they have new batteries at least every six months.
Keep track of all your credit cards, bills due dates, and invoices. To make sure that I paid my creditors on time, I called all of them two days after the fire. Most of this was still fresh in my mind as I had already paid all my bills the day before the fire. They were not sent, so I burned them in the fire. Also, keep this list off-site.
You should ensure that someone in your community calls the Red Cross Victim Assistance Team. Most often, the firemen or police do this for you. You should make sure that they do this for you. If you don’t have somewhere to stay, they will help you locate one. They are amazing and extremely supportive
It takes several days to arrange temporary living arrangements and get insurance to kick in. So plan to save some money and consider temporary living arrangements. Because of our horses and cattle, we had to live on site. It took us six days to arrange for an RV, and we had to sleep in a motel until they arrived. 45 minutes from the nearest motel. A trusted friend or family member can help you make the necessary arrangements and details. . It’s happening simultaneously and it is overwhelming.
Referring someone for contract work does not necessarily mean they are trustworthy or honest. Before you hire someone, it is important to do some research on them. When going through such a difficult time, everyone deserves respect and honor.
They will send an investigator to the scene within a few days. They asked many questions and we were able to draw the layout of the room that was the source of the fire. They wanted to see how it was used. They wanted to know every detail about the room and what it contained.
If I had to do it again, I would ask if there was a way to set up an escrow account. This would allow us to review and approve each payment made to contractors to ensure that the job was done to our satisfaction. There were items that weren’t completed, but they were paid anyway.
Volunteer firemen shared with me that they often recommend keeping a fire extinguisher near the bed for when you need it.
Take care of your body and mind during this time. Take care of your body, mind and soul. It can be difficult to recover from a life-changing event.