One of the most devastating things an individual can go through is a house fire. Not only have you lost your home, but you now have to find out if the house is salvageable or if you have to start from scratch. Either of these options can be both scary and overwhelming.
- Call Your Insurance Agent
Before you do anything else, make sure the insurance agency is the first place you call. Before calling, carefully read your house insurance paper, so you know what it contains. Make sure you make a list of what you lost and make a video of damages caused by the fire, plus keep receipts for the necessities you may have to purchase. If you delay calling your insurance company, it can result in a delay in receiving your damages claim or your claim being denied altogether.
- Call a Contractor to Assess the Damage
Usually, the insurance company will send out a contractor to assess the damage. It is essential to get a contractor because the one the agency sends out is employed by them. You want to double-check their numbers to make sure they are giving you an accurate estimate.
A public contractor works for you instead of an insurance agency. Most contractors have experience in construction and know the cost of the needed items. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion when dealing with insurance agencies.
- Have Your Home Thoroughly Cleaned and All Debris Removed
Firefighters use a substance called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). This foam has been linked to chemicals that have carcinogens in them. Companies that manufacture and sell AFFF are aware of the cancer-causing chemicals used in the firefighting foam and are taking steps to eliminate them. However, currently, they are still being used. Individuals who professionally clean fire damages know how to clean it to minimize chemical-related effects.
If you do find that you get cancer, possibly from exposure to these chemicals, reach out to a qualified attorney who can assist you get compensation to help with medical bills. Once all of the debris is removed, you can assess if you need to rebuild.
- Determine if You Will Rebuild or Repair
Over 50% of all house fires start in the kitchen. If this is the case for you, you may only have to put new drywall in a few places and repaint your kitchen. A small kitchen fire would be the best-case scenario.
If the house fire was a large one with all of the damage from the fire and water, it might be better to have your home demolished and start fresh. If you choose to have your house destroyed, you do not have to rebuild it on the same site. You can look for another piece of land to build your home.
- Rebuilding Your Home
Once you have decided to rebuild, you need to hire a trusted contractor. The contractor will be in charge of building your home to your specifications. If you loved the look of your house, you can have your new one built similarly or opt for a style completely different.
While having your home built, now that you have experienced firsthand the emotional impact of a house fire, you can take steps to reduce the chances of it happening again. This can be done by choosing to have sprinklers placed in rooms such as the kitchen, where fires are most likely to occur. There are also types of siding that are virtually fire resistant such as brick or aluminum.
- Remodeling the Inside
Once the outside is finished, now comes the fun. You can design the interior exactly how you want it. You want to love this home as much, if not more than your previous one. There are a few simple ways you can do this.
- Pick out your favorite paint or wallpaper for each room.
- Choose lighting that appeals to you.
- Add touches that reflect your personality.
- Have some built-in shelves for plants or items you want to display.
When you first have a fire, it may seem that you will never recover. Following the steps listed above will assist you in the decision-making process and help things go smoothly. During the rebuild process, there are steps you can take to lessen your chance of another fire.