The first 24 hours following a fire in your home are the most crucial. During this time you must contact your insurance agent that holds your homeowner’s or rental insurance policy, collect necessary receipts and personal documents, ensure utilities to the home are turned off and find emergency resources for you and your family. Due to the importance of all of these tasks, it is best to enlist the help of some family members or other organizations that can provide some assistance in handling these situations.
Your insurance company can help you fill out claim forms for gaining the financial compensation that is provided for in your insurance coverage. An agent can ensure these forms are properly filled out and submitted in a timely manner. A property evaluator will visit your home within a few days to assess the value of the damage to the home. You should keep receipts and documentation of all personal property in your home locked in a fire proof case for easy documenting in these events. This becomes even more crucial should your claim be challenged.
In many cases, the fire department will contact utility companies to have services such as electric, gas and water turned off to the home. You also want to contact service providers for cable, internet and telephone.
Organizations such as the Red Cross, United Way, FEMA and Department of Human Services in your area can provide you with emergency following a fire in your home. These companies will often be able to set up temporary housing, and provide food, clothing and travel services for you when necessary.
Contact the postal service to have your mail held at a nearby location. You can rent a post office box for temporary mail delivery.