The 7,000 acre fire that has devastated Colorado in recent days has created a chaotic scene in the mile-high state, as close to 100 structures have been completely destroyed by the fires. As is the case with all damaging fires, emotions run wild over concerns for personal and property safety, and the aftermath of the blaze can be felt for years.
Homes built in a dry, brushy landscape can be a breeding ground for wildfires, especially during the hot summer months. So what are Colorado residents, and other similarly situated victims to do after losing a home to a fire? To begin, the planning should happen before any post-fire claims are made by purchasing homeowners' insurance and engaging in annual landscape maintenance to limit the chances that a house catches fire. Planning for the unexpected will help with the financial and emotional stress associated with losing a home.
There are a lot of things to do after losing a home. First, file a claim with your insurance company. Fire and property damage is no exception to the general rule requiring claimants to file a claim as soon as possible. Delaying in contacting your insurance agent only serves to extend the already lengthy process ahead of you. At the same time, newly homeless homeowners should also keep an accurate accounting of all post-fire expenses including: purchasing necessities, invoices for alternative living situations, and items lost in the fire.
Many policies provide for living expense coverage that allows a holder to receive an advance on their payout to help cover the immediate need for cash flow. Staying organized and on top of the insurance company is the best way to return to some semblance of normalcy. When dealing with your insurance company and their adjustor, keep in mind that you do not have to accept the first offer they give you, and you have a right to an independent review and appraisal of your damages.