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You never thought it would happen to you but it did. You and your family were awakened in the middle of the night by the fire alarms. Terrified, you scurried to get your family and pets to safety. Thankfully, no one, including the animals, was harmed. As you watch your home go down in flames, literally, despite the fire department’s best efforts, you can only ask yourself what you should do now. Yes, you’ve lost everything, but don’t worry. It seems as if there is no hope, but there is. Here is a guide as to what you should do after you’ve lost your home in a fire.

Image result for free stock photo House Fire

Move Temporarily
Before you do anything else, you must find safe, temporary shelter for your family and your pets. Hopefully, you have other family or friends with whom you can stay. If not, contact a disaster relief organization (American Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) to find out if they have a local shelter. These organizations usually allow your pets to stay with you, too, as do some hotels. If you can only find temporary accommodations for your family, contact your vet. He or she can recommend local pet hotels or their office may have temporary shelter for your dog, cat, and/or other animals.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Once everyone is secured, it’s time to call your insurance agent to file a claim on your homeowner’s policy. San Antonio insurance agents recommend that you do this as soon as humanly possible. The quicker you file the claim, the quicker an adjuster can come out to assess the damages. You may also have what’s called a “loss of use” rider on your policy, which means your insurance will cover the costs of your temporary living expenses. Keep all receipts for your expenditures. This streamlines the process and gets the work started to clean up and rebuild your damaged abode.

Rethink Your Finances
As discussed above, you will receive money from your insurance company for your temporary shelter expenses but this doesn’t negate your mortgage responsibility. You might not have much of a home anymore, but you still have to pay your mortgage and other expenses. You will receive some relief from reduced utility bills; after all, the fire damage took out your electricity and water supply, but these will be restored quickly. Sit down and go over your finances, then pay your existing bills first and set aside your insurance money for your shelter, cleanup, and construction costs.

Get Your Stuff
When it’s safe and only when it’s safe, take the kids to a sitter and go back to the house to recover whatever belongings you can. The fire inspector and insurance appraiser will tell you when it’s safe to enter your home, so don’t even think about going in there prior to their approval. Your home is damaged and unstable, and you never want to compound an existing tragedy with your injury or death. Your homeowner’s policy should cover the loss of your possessions, so gather what you can and create an inventory list. To account for what was lost, create an electronic inventory of your belongings now, and back it up to a cloud server so you can access it from your temporary residence.

Hopefully, you will never lose your home to a fire or any other disaster. If you do, however, abide by the above steps to begin to put your life back together. The most important thing of all is to have a plan for any disaster prior to any occurrence. Make certain you establish quick and easy routes out of the house in the event of a fire, and also make sure you have crates readily available for the pets so you can save them, too. Be prepared for the worst. You’ll be thankful you were in the end.

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