We know that a fire may be devastating and life changing to you and possibly your loved ones. Listed below is our quick guide on how to approach the journey ahead of you as well as the answers to our most common questions when dealing with a fire related loss. We deal with people like you every single day, and hope to provide you with our best information from our well trained professionals. We want to put you first, and help get you the most that we can. May God be with you through this journey.

I had a fire at my property now what?

Your insurance company will want to flood your property with vendor's they suggest. This should be avoided at all costs. These are service providers that have cozy relationships with your insurer. These efforts will be to save money for your insurer at your expense. After a fire many people will approach you. Keep in mind that you only get one shot at getting the money you're owed. Sadly in your worst moments all sorts of people and service providers will hunt you down to get access to your insurance money. Be CAREFUL get educated before making decisions. Many industry services are designed to take as much money from you as possible to enrich themselves. This is your problem and it's your insurance money, guard it. A public adjuster can help you make sense and put you back in control.

How does a fire affect my property?

Your life will be difficult for an extended period of time. Nothing that was will continue to be. You will be faced with many situations you are not prepared for. It’s your duty to protect your property from any further damage. The ash resulting from a fire will damage furnishings and building materials. The smoke will penetrate deep into the property and its furnishings leaving a toxic residue and odor. The heat from a fire can cause permanent damage to building electrical and plumbing materials. The heat will also damage the roof surfaces as hot air rises. The heat will cause natural humidity found in buildings and furniture to be rapidly removed causing a contracting effect. This can cause damage to glues used to build furniture and splitting and splintering building materials as well. The water introduced to put out the fire will then rehydrate the contracted materials which will then expand the furnishings and building materials. This is very bad for buildings and its furnishings.

When should I call my insurance company?

Many times people are inclined to call their insurance companies first. This isn’t the case at all. You should seek a knowledgeable public insurance adjuster to establish what kind of recovery is best for you. There is more than one way to approach a claim. Many times property owners' lives are turned upside down as a result of a fire. It’s in this moment that loss victims may want to make drastic changes to their lives. This would be the time to relocate, pay off loans and other debts, or bunker down and build their dream life. Your policy requires you to discover the costs for damage and repairs. A loss victim should start by finding their own contractors. Most contractors have little to no idea on how insurance policies work so be extra careful when dealing with a contractor who claims to know about insurance but is not a licensed public adjuster. Many times these guys are great at getting money for themselves but have little to say about how to benefit you directly. After you know what your trusted contractor says it will take to fix your property and you figure out what kind of furniture losses you have now is the time to call in a claim.

Should I hire a public adjuster to deal with a fire claim?

Because so much is on the line after a fire having expert claim help will rarely hurt you. Like any industry you have your bad apples. Check the licenses and referrals of any public adjuster you are talking to. A public adjuster is a person who specializes in handling an insurance claim. Insurance companies know that loss victims are novices at handling a claim and generally prey on property owners ignorance. Having a public adjuster levels the playing field. A public adjuster is trained and educated in the same way as the adjusters who work for your insurance company. They can identify what your duties are to your insurer and the same; they can identify what your insurer owes you. That said a public adjuster eliminates the personal aspects of dealing with a loss. The public adjuster takes out the emotional aspect making the claim less personable and deals with it as a contractual issue. The insurance company adjuster works for your insurance company and has no obligation to teach you how to get the best results out of your claim. Having your own claims professional will greatly impact what money you recover. Public adjusters take a fee out of your recovery money but the amount of money they can recover compared to the average loss victim can be up to 700% more than your insurance company offers. A good public adjuster will meet and discuss your coverages and damages under no obligation. After all the information is reviewed both the public adjuster and the claimant can decide if it makes sense to work together.

Will my insurance just pay me for my fire damage?

By law your insurance company will make you an offer to settle a claim. The law does not require the offer to be accurate or fair. Most instances the adjuster who works for your insurance will try and clean rather than replace items. This is because it’s cheaper to clean than replace. The adjuster your insurance will send you has no training in construction or estimating. Relying on their opinion is the same as relying on your auto mechanic or barber in what it would cost to fix your fire damaged property. It’s not recommended to listen only to your insurer, that’s where things go terribly wrong. Property owners are obligated to disclose damages to the property at the point of a sale. That’s usually when property owners discover bad quality work or work that diminishes the resale value of your building. It’s never the obligation of an insurance company to make sure repairs restore the resale values of your property. In fact your insurance companies only obligation is to pay the claim. So if you are presented a slew of service providers by your insurer you can bet they are all cutting corners to help your insurance company.

Did the water used by the fire department cause more damage than the fire?

After a fire, water is generally a large factor of the damage. Sometimes the property envelope is compromised allowing the weather to enter the inside of the home. This with the water used by the fire department to extinguish the fire wreak havoc to the building materials and furnishings. Water will absorb into building materials and furnishings. The water is infused with toxic contaminants resulting in the smoke associated with burning materials. Mold and other harmful elements are a byproduct of water from a fire. In some cases property power will remain on. In this situation cleaning up water and removing wet materials should be removed. Document what you do to avoid any claim you may have disadvantaged your insurer or their fire investigators. Make sure it's ok to enter your property after a fire. If the water cant be removed airflow is key to avoid mold growth. In certain cases nothing can be done until a later date. Be aware any company sent to you by your insurer will charge for their work. This comes out of your recovery money which is limited. Never sign blank work authorizations.

Should I hire the people sent by my insurance company after a fire?

Never hire anyone sent to you by your insurance company. They will always be presented to you in the time of your confusion. This is deliberate, your insurer knows you are generally trusting and confused after a loss happens. They know you are lost and present limited options to address your problems. They never tell you the full story nor do they have to. Unfortunately when dealing with a claim it’s a negotiation and idled by contract law. Any party they recommend is not tied to them directly. When things go wrong your insurer will simply tell you to sue their vendor. In no way will they assume reasonability of the service providers actions. Initially when the service providers show up it is presented in a way where it would seem natural and part of the claims process. It's not. This approach helps your insurer control claim costs by their ability to direct the service providers. Be clear any vendor presented has their best interest at heart and then the interest of your insurer who refers them to work. Your interest is put last for any of these guys, be careful.

Does the smoke from a fire cause damage?

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Can smoke damage be cleaned?

Not really, even after attempts to clean are made the damage smoke causes aren’t reversible. Fabrics will hold and adopt the contaminates making the contaminates and textiles one piece. The smells associated with the smoke residue and aggressive cleaning agents might give an appearance of cleanliness, but the truth is they are never the same as before a fire. Insurance companies will argue this because it financially benefits them, however, science is on your side. Nothing other than glass items can be cleaned successfully after a fire. Many times insurance companies insist you have items cleaned before they consider paying to replace. Be careful, the cleaning companies aligned to do this cleaning will become your insurance companies experts later, if you fight them. It's okay to have one or two items teste, but you should never allow all your items to be cleaned. Any cleaning effort made comes out of your available policy limits. Keep in mind you can hire your own cleaning company to test clean items just as well. There are so many turns to this subject having a seasoned public adjuster handling this issue is the best thing you could do. Insurance companies are not a big fan of the public adjuster industry.

Who picks the companies who will work on my homes fire repairs?

Be very clear on this topic. I would never use a vendor or service provider suggested by my insurance company. They are friendly with my insurance and are interested in limiting recovery money. Vendors are known for cutting corners at the expense of your property value. After all the insurer has a steady stream of referrals that they send out to these companies. After a loss your insurer will have a parade of services to offer you. They will present them in a way you’d think it's natural and part of the claims process to use these guys. It’s only an illusion. There is  no obligation to use anyone they pick. You also have the right to find your own help or even do it yourself if it makes sense. These vendors will show up in your most desperate and confused time and have you sign blank work authorizations and contracts. This is your first sign you're in trouble. No logical person signs blank work orders not knowing charges, work to be performed or fees. This is alive and well only in the insurance loss network. You will later be shocked and angry to find out what they took from your limits. Be smart, get help from,” The Claims Boss” to avoid these pitfalls. We work with you to find talent in every field of your recovery. People you can trust, people who allow you to remain in control of your claim and your insurance money.

Why hire the Claims Boss?

There is no downside to our service. We only get paid when you receive more money from your insurance company by using our service. It is in our best interest to help you as much as we can. We have made careers on mastering the ins and outs of the entire insurance process. We offer FREE consultation and a FREE estimate. Contact us now to learn more!