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#ThomasFire and Tips to Protect Yourself

December 14th, 2017 · No Comments · Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Thomas Fire

Santa Barbara Holiday Display with Protective Smoke Masks

Here are four tips that can help protect yourself, and your possessions:

1. Document everything: When homeowners return home, they should take photos before cleaning or rearranging items so that they have a complete photo record. This can be especially important when it comes to items that are not destroyed but might be smoke-damaged.“One of the biggest hassles for people with large or total losses is listing all of your personal property that was damaged. This is where having pictures or a video of your home and belongings really help. People should video each room separately and treat the closet as a separate room.

2. Follow up phone calls with insurance personnel with written or email communication: In times of stress, it’s important to make sure you have a record of what was discussed, and what the appropriate next steps are. Note whom you spoke with and what was said.

3. Document and track expenses related to living outside of the home: Be sure to also save receipts from any expenses incurred in the short term, such as hotel stays, and document the time you missed from work. Taking photos or videos of the damage can also help verify claims if it is safe to re-enter the structure.The reimbursement process for fire damage can vary based on the insurer and the scale of the damage. Your insurer may send you a check for a smaller loss, but for a larger loss, you could receive payments in stages over several months.Be sure to ask your adjuster and get it in writing. It’s also important not to cash any checks until you understand their ramifications. In some cases, you may accidentally wave rights just by cashing a check. Checking your policy, or working with a fire damage restoration company, can help protect you from ending a claim prematurely.

4. Consider a home inspection: Depending on how close the home was to the fire, it may make sense to have it inspected to look out for any potential roof damage and any issues with electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems.If the home isn’t affected by the fires, this is a good reminder to make sure coverage is up to date and accurate.People should review their insurance policies with their insurance professionals annually. This helps insure that your insurance matches your needs. The cost of rebuilding, especially in California, continues to rise each year.

Homeowners should have a copy of their homeowner’s insurance policy and connect with their provider early in the process. They should document everything, keep a record of who they speak to and what they speak about, track living expenses and consider a home inspection. Even those not in the immediate danger areas should prepare strategies for themselves and their pets. Having documents, including insurance policies, can be very important. Most Homeowners Insurance will cover fire damage and can also compensate people who need to leave their homes for an extended period. The first thing homeowners should do if their property, vehicles or possessions are damaged by fire is reach out to their insurance provider and give information on damage to homes, cars and other belongings. Not all policies provide the same coverage.

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