Fire is a brutal master, wreaking havoc when least expected, leaving in its wake an assortment of damaged goods and a business in distress. Fortunately for you, if you have insurance, you may be covered. Filing a commercial fire damage claim can be a daunting task, especially as you try to handle your day-to-day business activities. If your commercial property has been damaged due to a fire, getting assistance quickly can mean the difference in thousands of dollars of damage.
If you are experiencing fire damage at your commercial property, you’ll want to discuss the costs with your insurance. Filing a fire damage claim can be challenging, especially for those who have never done it before. At United Water Restoration Group we would like to go over a few dos and don’ts when you file a commercial fire damage claim.
What You Should Do When Filing a Commercial Fire Damage Claim
There are many things that one should do while filing a commercial fire damage claim. This is an incredibly important task and getting the money you need to get back to normal may depend on it! Here are a few crucial things you should do while filing for a commercial fire damage claim:
Take Notes and Pictures: Imagine trying to recall every twist and turn of a complex story without notes. That’s how it feels when you’re trying to file a claim without a list of damages. So, it’s essential to make a comprehensive commercial fire damage claim list. Capture the chaos on your phone’s camera, spotlighting everything from the charred corners of the office to the half-melted computer screens. The more detailed your documentation, the easier it will be to make your case and justify your restoration process in full to your insurance provider. Taking notes and pictures should be the first goal after the fire has been safely put out.
Contact Your Insurance Company: One of the first things you should do after the fire has settled and you have a better grasp on the situation is to contact your insurance provider. Some property owners opt to wait for an assessment by professionals like at United Water Restoration Group, Having our assessment can provide your insurance provider with a clear image of what happened and what needs to be done to return the property back to a state of normalcy. Whether you contact a restoration company or your insurance company first, both should be contacted to properly begin the process. At United Water Restoration Group, we also have trained experts who can guide and assist you through the claims process.
Understand Your Insurance Policy: Reading your insurance policy can feel like studying for a particularly tricky test, but it’s an integral part of the process. You need to understand the extent of your coverage. Is it only the property that’s insured, or does it include the lost income during the downtime? Clarity here will save you from unwelcome surprises later on and can help you better approach the situation with more understanding.
Secure the Premises: Once the fire is out and it’s safe to do so, ensure the property is secure. This might involve boarding up windows or setting up temporary barriers. This not only protects the property from further damage but also ensures no unauthorized personnel can access the site.
Get Help from Experts: Getting the commercial fire damage claim to help return your property to normal and fully restore it can be a little difficult at times. Insurance companies run and operate as a business and often seek to provide lower payouts for a problem that first glance might not look bad, but upon inspection could cost thousands. At United Water Restoration Group, our experts can assist in guiding you through the claim process and provide your insurance company with assessments and detailed steps of what needs to happen. After the initial steps, it’s wise to consult a fire restoration specialist. They can provide insights into the extent of the damage and the best methods for restoration. Their expertise can be invaluable in ensuring that your property is restored to its original state, minimizing long-term damage and potential health risks.
Save Your Receipts: Suppose you’ve incurred costs on immediate repairs or had to move your business temporarily, save all receipts. These receipts validate your claim, providing evidence for your insurance company that the costs you’re claiming are real and were necessary. There may be other costs associated with fire restoration such as business downtime or relocation fees. Keeping track of these costs and unexpected bills may help provide you with a bigger payout from your insurance provider. Depending on your policy, these items may help in getting additional claim money.
Things to Avoid While Filing Commercial Fire Damage Claim
Now that we’ve provided a few tips on what to do while filing a commercial fire damage claim, we’d like to provide a few tips that will help you avoid actions that may cause the process to be painful or drawn out. Filing incorrectly or not being fully aware of your policy can cost you in the long run as well. Here are a few things you should avoid while filing your commercial fire damage claim:
Don’t Throw Away Damaged Items: Your insurance provider will likely want a detailed list of the items lost or damaged during the fire. You may feel compelled to try to clean up and throw away items yourself, but this can cost you. As listed above, you should take photos of what was lost and keep track of damaged items. This will help your insurance provider better determine the amount needed for full restoration of the property.
Don’t Rush the Claim Process: Filing a claim isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. It’s not about finishing first but ensuring all your losses are included in your claim. So take your time to get it right and see if you can get professional assistance navigating the process. At United Water Restoration Group, we can assist you through the claim process by acting as a liaison between you and your insurance provider. This allows us to directly send them assessments, photos, and scope of work plans to return the property back to normal.
Don’t Settle for Less: If your insurance company offers less money than you believe your claim is worth, don’t just accept it. Stand up for yourself, like you would in a class debate. Remember, insurance companies, like any business, are looking to minimize expenses. They might evaluate the situation differently, which can lead to a lower initial offer. This situation is akin to a class debate where your opponent presents an argument that doesn’t align with your viewpoint. You need supporting evidence to back up your claims and not give in, especially when you know you’re right! Accepting an inadequate amount may result in you needing to personally cover the rest of the restoration project. If you settle quickly, you may not be able to try to negotiate under the case again, effectively closing you out of your policy. At United Water Restoration Group, we have experts who can assist you through the claims process and provide pertinent information about your claim and best practices when filing. If you’re unsure about the settlement offer, consider seeking a second opinion. Legal experts or independent adjusters can provide insights into whether the offer is fair.
Remember, these commercial fire damage claim tips are like your handy study guide, helping you ace this real-world test. Even though filing a commercial fire damage insurance claim can seem daunting, with the right approach and a little patience, you can get your business back on its feet. At United Water Restoration Group, our experts can assist you through every step of the process and help return your commercial property back to its pre-loss conditions. We can assist in helping make your commercial business fully operational again with no signs of damage!
If you need assistance, United Water Restoration Group is here to help! Contact us at (800) 430-5838. We can assist you through the commercial fire damage insurance claims process as well as the commercial fire damage restoration process! If you need assistance, our technicians are ready!