It’s not fun to think about and hopefully you’ll never have to experience it. But with all of the fires that have raged through California, you might be wondering what would happen if you were to suffer a fire loss. It can be an extremely emotional time, so having a clear plan in place is essential to recovering as quickly as possible. That being said, let’s go over the essential tasks that need to be done if your house does burn down.
It’s important to note how you can protect yourself beforehand. When a fire occurs, the documents needed to file an insurance claim may get burned up with the house. Because of this, make digital copies of important documents ahead of time and save them online (or have a physical copy stored at a different location). Having everything you need to make a claim at your fingertips will make the whole process much smoother.
It’s also a good idea to have documented evidence of all your belongings. The best way to do this is to create an inventory document that lists all your valuable items. Include the cost of purchase, date of purchase, and a detailed description (including photos, if possible) of each item. A quick way to put together visual evidence is to do a video walk-through of your home showing everything you own. This file should also be saved online and/or stored in a separate location.
Unfortunately, not everyone has time to prepare. If your house has already burned down, don’t panic. If you live in America and have homeowners insurance, you’ll be covered. Here’s what you need to know to get the process started.
Contact Your Insurance Agency
Your first step after a fire loss is to contact your insurance agency to start the claims process. Do not count on anyone else (e.g., police, fire department) to do this for you. This should be done as soon as possible. Your insurance agency will be able to answer all your questions and guide you through the process. One document they will need is a copy of the fire report. This can be obtained by calling the fire department.
Find A Place To Stay
Contact your friends and family to let them know you’re safe. Try to think of anyone who might be able to temporarily take you in while you search for your own place to stay. If you don’t have any family or friends who can take you in, your insurance agency may be able to help you find emergency lodging. Wherever you end up staying, make sure you save your receipts and keep track of all expenses related to being dislodged.
Secure Your House
When it’s deemed safe, it’s important to secure any intact portion of your house. It would be a tragedy to have part of your house burn down and then have all your undamaged valuables stolen because they were left unprotected. Not only that, but if someone—whether it be a thief, looter, or neighbor—enters your house and gets hurt, you’ll be liable.
Take Care Of Your Finances
During this hectic time, it can be easy to forget to manage your financial obligations. First, you will want to cancel all credit cards lost in the fire and request replacements. Also, make sure you continue making your mortgage payments and paying other bills. If you normally receive your bills in the mail, make sure to have them forwarded to your temporary address or opt for electronic bills.
Taking The First Step
Suffering the loss of your house and possessions is an incredibly difficult process. There will be mourning and grief. There’s no way around it. However, being proactive and prepared for emergencies can significantly lessen the stress of the aftermath. One way to do this is to have a strong financial plan in place. If you’re interested in working with a professional financial advisor to help you create a personalized plan, we at Haydel, Biel & Associates would be happy to help. Simply contact me at (626) 529-8347 or email me directly at [email protected], and we can get started right away.
About Haydel, Biel & Associates
Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at [email protected]