How to Manage Your Money After a House Fire

While there is plenty of financial advice out there, it can be tough to find advice on what to do after a disaster. In the wake of a house fire, you may find yourself in a tough financial position. Should you need to replace your belongings, rebuild or repair your home, or pay for extra costs because you and your family have to live elsewhere while repairs are made, these are some financial tips that can help you manage your budget throughout the process.

#1 Do Not File Your Insurance Claim Alone

A large house fire or a total loss can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover from. You rely on your insurance policy to cover as much of that loss as you can get.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies try to mitigate their own losses as best they can. They may undervalue your lost belongings or underestimate the extent of the repairs your home needs.

After a major loss, get help with your insurance claim. An insurance lawyer can help you secure a larger settlement by assisting you throughout the process.

#2 Get an Advance to Cover Additional Living Expenses

In the immediate aftermath of a fire, there are a number of expenses that you and your family will face. You may need to find accommodation until your home is safe to return to, and you will have to quickly buy clothing, laptops, phones, and other essentials that were lost in the fire.

A cash advance will be deducted from your final settlement, but it will help you avoid going into debt right now.

#3 Keep All of Your Receipts Organized

Your insurance company may need to see receipts for all Additional Living Expenses that you claim and potentially also lost belongings that you replace. Keep all of your receipts and use an organization system that makes them easy to retrieve and submit, whether you’re using digital or paper receipts.

#4 Do Not Forget About Lost Belongings

An important part of the home insurance claim process is creating a Schedule of Loss. This is a comprehensive list of all of the items that were lost or damaged in the fire.

Your insurance policy was designed to help you replace what you lost, but you need to be able to list those belongings and potentially show receipts or proof that you owned them.

There are several things you can do to make sure you do not forget about anything:

  • Do not throw any damaged items away until the insurance adjuster has seen them.
  • Take photographs of damaged items when it is safe to do so.
  • Create a list of all the items you lost, including their age, where you bought them, and the price you paid.
  • Ask friends and family for help remembering belongings.
  • Search through photos and social media taken in your home to jog your memory.

Managing your budget after a house fire can feel like walking a tightrope. Make sure you take every step available to get immediate financial help and to receive a fair insurance settlement.