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What Should I Do After A Fire - Oakleafe Claims

Fire Claims, fire damage

Fires Can Be The Most Expensive Insurance Claims

Suffering a fire at your property is difficult, stressful and upsetting, and you will want to know what you should do next.  It is not easy finding helpful, informative advice that gets straight to the point.  You will want clear directions about what you should do next after a fire to get your life and property back in order. Fire insurance claims are some of the most expensive property insurance claims, which is why it’s so important you know what steps you should take to efficiently handle your claim and receive the settlement you’re entitled to.  Without the right information your claim can become confusing, time-consuming and expensive.  Worst of all, your claim could be rejected or considered void.  To reduce the likelihood of that happening, you need to know what you should do immediately after a fire, such as your responsibilities and who to contact.  It’s also vital you’re aware of what you should do throughout the claims process to keep your fire insurance claim on the right track.

After A Fire You Should Contact An Expert

One of the first things you should decide is whether to hire a professional to assist you with your claim.  This is particularly critical if the fire damage is significant, and/or the claim is complex.  Fire insurance claims quickly become costly because of the damage even a small fire can cause.  Smoke damage is especially difficult to detect and mitigate.  Fire rescue efforts can also leave substantial water damage, which when left untreated can cause mold to develop on furnishings and woodwork. The earlier you contact an expert in the field, the sooner you can relieve yourself of worry and stress related to your claim.  Loss Assessors like Oakleafe Claims, can offer you support and advice from the start of your claim.  They can walk you through each stage of the claims process, advise you on the best steps to take, and even manage the claim on your behalf should you choose.  Loss Assessors work exclusively on behalf of policyholders, to help you efficiently settle your claim. Other professionals you should consider contacting include, Chartered Surveyors and specialised cleaners for fire, smoke, and water damage.  They will be able to provide you with a comprehensive estimate of the cost of restoration and repair.  They will also give you reassurance about their ability to restore your property to its pre-loss condition.  Expert opinion is invaluable in such a time of crisis.

After A Fire You Should Contact Your Insurer

No matter how small or large the fire, you should contact your insurer at the earliest opportunity to inform them of the fire and your intention to file a claim.  Note this first contact with your insurer is your official notice, and you ought to have prepared as much information and detail as possible surrounding your claim.  From the first contact you make, your insurer will be recording the details you provide.  Prioritise gathering sufficient and correct information so you can supply all the relevant facts as soon as possible.  The longer you take to file your claim and provide the necessary material, the more complicated the claims process can become.  Insurance companies will look for any opportunity to invalidate or reduce your claim; leaving notice to file to the last minute or beyond a specified time frame, will give them cause to do just that. If you need immediate assistance for essential living costs such as temporary accommodation, clothing, food or travel, let your insurer know with your first contact.  Your insurer may be able to provide an advance payout to cover these costs, which will later be deducted from the final settlement figure.  Make sure you enquire about this provision if it is not offered.  Be aware you may have to request such an advance in writing, but the hassle will be worth it if it means you can more easily access the things you need, when you need them. Remain in close contact with your insurer throughout your fire claims process to keep them accountable and move your claim along.  Fire damage can quickly worsen when left untreated, so it is crucial you maintain pressure on your insurer to attend to the damage and process the claim as quickly as possible.

After A Fire You Should Secure Your Property

Following a fire it's your responsibility to secure your property as well as possible, including mitigating damage to prevent further loss or damage.  The condition of your property must not present any danger to persons entering your property.  A Chartered Surveyor will be able to carry out an assessment to determine whether the fire has compromised the structure of your property. Qualified electricians must also check whether the fire has compromised the electrical safety of your property.  Fire and smoke damage can cause significant and dangerous damage to electrical circuits, wiring and appliances.  These are not always obvious, and you will need an expert opinion to decide whether your property is safe.  Air quality is another important aspect to consider and assess; smoke damage and mould growth both pose serious health risks, especially to those with underlying health conditions. If your property is reported to be unsafe to inhabit, you must find temporary accommodation.  This can be a hotel or with friends or family.  Be sure to make notes and keep evidence of all costs involved with alternative accommodation, so you can later be reimbursed as part of your claim.  These costs apply whether you stay with family, friends, a hotel or rented accommodation.

After A Fire You Should Collect Evidence & Information

Once you’ve notified your insurer about your fire claim they will assign a claims handler to your case, and if they choose, a Private Loss Adjuster.  The claims handler and/or Private Loss Adjuster will decide whether your policy covers the cost of the fire damage, and for how much.  They will notify you if there are any conditions or clauses within your policy that exclude cover, and to what extent.  These appointed individuals will be in direct contact with you to assess your claim and gather all the relevant information.  Therefore, it’s vital you take time to read and review your insurance documents.  Highlight any terms or conditions you do not understand and do your research.  If you have appointed a loss assessor, they can complete this work on your behalf.  Otherwise, you must invest time to get to grips with your policy.  Failure to do so will critically impact your claim as you will be unable to counteract the decisions made by your insurer’s contractors. You should gather and provide as much evidence as possible to support your claim after a fire.  Supply photographs you have of your home before the fire and take photos of the damage as a result of the fire.  Remember not all fire damage is visible, so be sure to include reports from fire rescue teams, your Chartered Surveyor, and fire restoration professionals who can expertly outline the full extent of the damage.  Compile a list of all damaged items and provide receipts or evidence of purchase for expensive items. Keep all the details related to your claim in a safe organised file that you can quickly refer to when you need to.  It is a good idea to make notes on all communications you have with your insurer and their representatives.  Remain factual and concise in all your conversations to avoid inadvertently admitting fault.  If you do not know the answers to questions posed by a loss adjuster or insurer, say so, and tell them you need time to find out.  Try not to give in to pressure to provide information you do not have, as this can easily lead to speculation.  Instead, be vigilant about collecting the right information and providing it within the specified time limits.


Attempting to manage your fire claim will be daunting and difficult if you do not know what you should do afterwards.  From the start you should decide if you would like professional support and guidance and contact relevant companies who can assist you.  Loss Assessors will be particularly valuable to support and guide your fire claim.  Other professionals such as fire restoration and cleaning companies, fire rescue teams, and a Chartered Surveyor can provide essential support and evidence.  You must also prioritise contacting your insurer with all the correct and relevant information.  The sooner you take this step the better to avoid complications.  Secure your property as well as possible after a fire to mitigate further damage you would be held responsible for.  Finally, make sure you gather and keep comprehensive records of all the information related to your claim.  This will provide evidence of your account and proof of correspondence, which will be used to back your fire claim and ensure the right outcome.
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