House fires are the things of nightmares. You can lose your possessions, your home, and sometimes even the lives of loved ones. We can all only hope that if we are ever affected by this most-serious happenstance that we are fortunate enough to escape without any bodily harm.
Most homeowners have one thing in common when it comes to fire damage: few are ever prepared to deal with the real consequences. If you find yourself wondering what to do after a house fire, take a look below for some words of advice.
*Under no circumstance should you re-enter your fire damaged home until given the official go-ahead by the fire department. This goes for homes that don’t appear to be damaged too severely from the outside. You never know what may have been altered inside (newly-weakened beams, softened floors, etc.), and fires have been known to re-ignite after they’ve been extinguished.
*Contact your insurance company immediately. Your agent should know the steps you need to take, like; putting up a temporary fence to keep vandals at bay, composing a list of what was lost, locating temporary housing, and establishing what your policy does and does not cover.
*Contact your local police department to report the damage and the temporarily-vacant home. Depending on how long you will be away from your fire damaged home, this could be the prime opportunity for vandals, thieves and squatters. The eye of your local police department could help keep your home safe.
*When living away from your fire damaged home, be sure to keep careful track of all expenses – this may include the full cost of your apartment or hotel bill. This is another item to discuss with your insurance agent – which expenses will the company reimburse you for.
*What about medications? Have you lost any essential pills, etc. in the fire? Contact your physician right away to determine the best course of action.
*Replace all vital documents you may have lost in the fire, from your driver’s license to your tax records. Get started on this as early as possible, as the lack of proper documentation can create all sorts of entirely new hurdles.
*Consider contacting disaster relief agencies, like the American Red Cross, in your area. They may be able to provide you with temporary food and shelter if you have no friends or family nearby to help you during this difficult time.
Here is some good news for you: utility companies and lending institutions are often willing to work with those affected by personal tragedy, as long as open communication is maintained!
Once the green light has been given by the fire department, it’s time to consult the pros for your home investigation. This will likely take the expertise of multiple inspectors, who will need to check your fire damaged home for:
Window and window frame damage
Electrical circuits and wire damage
Pipes and plumbing damage
Interior wall damage
Mechanical systems functionality
Lighting and fans
Siding and structure damage
For some, selling may be in the owner’s best interest. If you are a homeowner looking to sell your fire damaged home instead of paying for the costly repairs, please give us a call at 210-361-1151. We buy fire damaged homes ‘as-is’, in any condition and we’ll make your selling experience as smooth and easy as possible, because honestly, you’ve been through enough lately.