Fire and Smoke TIPS

Professional mitigation companies rely on software called XACTIMATE to generate a restoration scope of work. Xactimate has become the industry standard and determines the amount to charge a client.

  1. You can hire separate contractors for the mitigation, the contents restoration, and the reconstruction. However, it is often beneficial for the mitigation and the contents contractor to be the same company. Reconstruction is its own separate issue and lends itself well to a separate contractor if you so choose.
  2. Fire claims move slowly and require a great deal of patience and perseverance. Plan for it.
  3. You will want to involve a restoration company in the mitigation process, and you will want to be sure that the contractor who is doing the reconstruction has fire damage experience.
  4. Just because a room in a structure doesn’t look fire-damaged, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Wall cavities become pressurized behind the sheet rock. Not dealing with these areas will cause a lingering smoke odor that lasts forever.
  5. Even though the insurance company will only reimburse you for the structure as it was, doesn’t mean that you can’t make small or even drastic changes to the structure as long as you are willing to pay the difference between what insurance will pay and what the contractor is billing for the upgrades.
  6. It is important to have paperwork documenting that the insurance company and your contractor have agreed upon a set price, thus insuring that you will only be out your deductible unless you have upgrades.
  7. Insurance checks for fire damage often exceed $20,000. When they do, the insurance company is required to include the mortgage company’s name on the check forcing the mortgage company, the homeowner, and often the contractor to endorse the check. This process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months, which delays reconstruction.
  8. Insurance work does not require multiple quotes. The owner needs to pick the contractor, and the contractor and the insurance company will work through pricing and what needs to be cleaned, replaced, and/or repaired.
  9. Maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process and dealing with your contractor and your insurance adjuster in a positive way will pay big dividends in the long run.
  10. Your contents are a completely separate issue from the structure. You will be asked to help with identifying values of items that must be disposed of. This will require some time and effort; but doing so is paramount to settling your contents claim.
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