Frequently Asked Questions Following a Home Fire
We understand the stress and worry a homeowner may feel following a fire event in their home. Our fire damage restoration team has the knowledge and experience to help ease your worries during the restoration process. We do this every day and our purpose is to not only make it "like it never even happened", but also to be a resource for your during the claims process. Below are some frequently asked questions during the beginning of the claims process.
How long will this take?
A complete recovery from a fire event at your home or business can take weeks or months depending on how extensive the damage is. How badly was the property’s structure affected? Does the roof need to be repaired? How much of the structure needs to be removed and replaced? The answers to these questions and several others will determine a clearer project timeline. Before beginning the restoration process, we will give you an estimated project completion date and update you along the way if any changes need to be addressed.
How do you determine what was affected by the fire?
The fire may have been contained to one room in your home or business, but soot can travel via your air conditioning system to several other areas throughout the property. Soot is often hard to detect with the naked eye, but with time acidic soot will lead to discoloration and erosion of materials. Our fire project manager will utilize dry sponges to test areas in your home or business for hard to see soot. Therefore, if soot is discovered in a certain room, then the structure and contents of that room must be cleaned.
How much will this cost? How do you write the estimate?
We use Xactimate to create our estimates. Xactimate is a software program used by all insurance companies for restoration project estimation. The prices for each line item are set within the program and accepted by insurance companies. All estimates include labor, time, and materials required. Again, we will send final estimate and any required supplements directly to your insurance company. The estimation process is exceptionally detailed, tedious, and dependent upon services rendered. That being said, a conclusive estimate can only be completed once the project is finished due to the nature of the restoration process.
What is subrogation?
Subrogation occurs when the insurance company believes a third-party is responsible for the damages and seeks legal action to recover costs for the claim. When subrogation is necessary, the insurance company may not allow anyone to work in the affected area while the investigation is pending. The investigation process may greatly affect our ability to perform services and extend the projected completion date. Our team will have no control over this. Please refer to your insurance company for any questions regarding subrogation.
What should I do now?
If an insurance claim has not already been opened, then calling your insurance company and doing so is the first step. Request a copy of your insurance policy declaration page from your insurance agent or claims specialist to review your coverage. Learn how much coverage you have for structure (labeled dwelling) and for contents. You may need to find another place to stay during the cleaning process. Read your policy or ask your insurance agent to help you understand what is covered under the additional living expenses (ALE) or “loss of use” section in your policy. Ask your insurance company to give you a list in writing of what is commonly covered under these sections. We are not your insurance company and do have any control over your policy limits.
How do I know which items can or cannot be cleaned?
Our fire project manager will help you understand which items are generally able to be cleaned after a fire and which items we suggest discarding of. Some insurance companies may not be willing to pay for our team to create an inventory list of your contents. If your insurance company will not cover the expense of our team inventorying your contents, then we will help instruct you as best as we can. You will want to create a list of all items that need to be discarded and take pictures of each item. Depending on your policy, your insurance company will either pay for the replacement cost of the items or an actual cash value. It will be your responsibility to negotiate an amount for your contents with your insurance company. One tip is to take the list of items needing to be replaced to a large box store and create a registry to show the total of those items.
What is the adjuster’s role in this process?
The adjuster assigned to your claim is working for the insurance company either as an employee or a hired contractor through a third-party claim management company. The adjuster will create an estimate of the needed repairs and your claim will be awarded that amount. We will communicate our restoration plan and share any suggestions or necessary supplements with the adjuster.
Who can help with the rebuild portion of my claim?
Our purpose as your trusted restoration vendor is to clean and/or remove materials affected by the claimed event. We work to mitigate damages to prevent any further damages from occurring in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We are only allowed to remove what is necessary for proper mitigation. Restoration and rebuild are two separate portions of your claim. Following our cleaning process, you will need to hire a contractor to finish repairs. We recommend our partner company Complete Restoration Services and would be happy to have someone contact you with more information.
To learn more about our fire restoration process or for assistance with your home, please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com.