If you live in a home or apartment, there is a chance that you will have to make an insurance claim for smoke damage at some point. Dealing with your insurer can be frustrating, and knowing the average payout for smoke damage claims and the processes involved will help you during the stressful time of filing a claim.
Here are our insurance claim tips for smoke damage in your home or apartment.
Tip #1: Contact your insurance representative as soon as possible
You’ll want to ensure that you’re covered for fire-related losses and get everything in writing before filing a claim with your carrier.
Tip #2: Don’t move anything until the claims adjuster arrives
It’s best to leave all of your belongings in place until the adjuster can evaluate them. If items are moved or tampered with, there could be additional charges for restoration or replacement costs down the road.
Tip #3: Document everything
Make sure to document all receipts for cleaning supplies and other repair costs when you are to make smoke damage insurance claims. If possible, keep receipts in separate envelopes with dates on them, so they’re easy to find later. When you file your claim with your insurance company, you’ll need these receipts.
Tip #4: Take photos of all affected areas
Be sure to take high-quality photos of the affected areas of your home or apartment. The more detailed the pictures, the better it is for making smoke damage insurance claims. Zoom in and take shots of any discoloration or damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye. If there are any visible cracks in walls or ceilings, take pictures from multiple angles to be visible from every angle in the photos.
Tip #5: Read your insurance policy carefully
Before calling your insurer, make sure you understand what is covered in your policy. If you don’t have enough coverage, the insurer may not pay for all damages. For example, if you are underinsured by more than 25%, you must pay the difference out of pocket or settle with the company that caused the damage.
Tip #6: Know what is replaceable vs. irreplaceable
Take pictures of all of your belongings before cleaning up smoke-damaged items. This will help you determine whether they can be saved or if they need to be replaced. For example, clothing can often be cleaned; electronics may not. If you’re not sure whether an item can be saved, check with a professional specializing in fire restoration.
Smoke damage can be especially challenging from a claims standpoint. Never make an insurance claim for smoke damage without a completed inventory of your damaged items, receipts for new items, photographs of destroyed property, and repair estimates. We hope these smoke damage insurance claim tips help you get through a tough time.
U&S Companies provides fire restoration in Michigan, serving Macomb, Oakland, and St Clair Counties. Contact our helpful team immediately for your free estimate.