What You Need to do After a House Fire
After a house fire, there are several steps you need to take to stay safe and recover your belongings.
Take care of insurance.
- Contact your insurance company. Most insurance policies cover disasters such as fires and fire damage. Get a hold of your insurance to know what your options for recovery are.
- Get a fire report. Fire reports are public documents that detail all of the more specific things that took place during the fire. It helps fire departments and your insurance company will want a copy.
- Make a list of items you lost. Your insurance can better help you cover what you lost if you have a list of damaged or destroyed items. Save the receipts for any new items you buy so you can prove the damaged possessions as lost for your taxes and insurance.
- No insurance? If you don’t have any insurance, there are plenty of other organizations that are still able to help you. Salvation Army, Red Cross, and religious or public organizations are all there to help.
Find a place to stay.
It’s unsafe to go back into your damaged home, so you will need to find a place to stay with friends of family while your home and belongings are restored.
Look over your finances and other documents.
Sadly, even though you are unable to live in your home, you will often have to continue to make payments on the property. Talk to the lender for your mortgage and find out what options are available.
You will also want to consider credit cards you lost in the fire. Report any losses to your credit card company.
As far as burnt money goes, try to handle it as little as possible. Put any damaged bills baggies or plastic wrap to try and preserve it. If the bills are only slightly damaged, you can replace it at your closest Federal Reserve Bank or the Treasury.
Check for any lost documents and take the necessary steps to replace them. These may include:
- Driver’s License
- Insurance policies
- Automobile Registration
- Life certificates (birth, marriage, death, citizenship papers, as well as wills)
- Discharge papers from the military
- Medicare cards or social security cards
- Important warranties
- Medical records
- Tax records