Fire damage may occur from faulty electrical wiring, electrical appliance malfunction, fireplaces, electronics, electrical equipment, candles and may other reasons. In many cases, simple safety precautions or regular maintenance may prevent the fire from occurring.
There are three main components in understanding the fire risk: fire prevention, fire damage mitigation and fire damage restoration.
It is very important for property owners to properly document and inventory their content/belongings (jewelry, legal documents, collectables, photographs…..). Most insurance companies will require the policy holder to produce an inventory with supporting documentation in case of a fire loss.
Fire damage to structure may range from a light smoke damage walls to heavy fire damage to structural components (i.e. the framing, roof, windows and frames, doors and casings, plumbing components, electrical, insulation, cabinetry, heating and cooling system and more).
The light structural fire damage (i.e. smoke damage) may require a hygienist’s inspection and a cleanup by a restoration company.
The heavy structural fire damage may require a structural engineer, an architect and a general contractor. The general contractor will hire the experts based on their trade (i.e. framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, flooring specialists and more).
The property owner should hire a licensed contractor to perform claim related repairs for fire damage. During the claim related repairs, some additional code upgrade related repairs may be needed. Most policies have code upgrade coverage or Ordinance and Law Coverage. This coverage is very important for older buildings. The older buildings may need to upgrade the damaged items to comply with the most recent codes
If the damaged property is going to be vacant for an extended period of time, the insurance company may pay for additional fencing and board up.
Fire damage repairs usually require several months to be completed. Most insurance policies will offer coverage for additional living expenses which includes food and temporary housing. The temporary housing is usually provided in the same area where the insured’s property is located. The insurance company may need to provide a temporary housing that is similar to the house which was damaged.
The businesses may have additional coverages for business interruption, loss of income, loss of inventory or other relevant items.
A public adjuster may assist the policyholder in dealing with their insurance company and any other parties who are involved in the claims process and the repairs for fire damage claims.
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