Returning Home After a Wildfire

What to do if your home was damaged or destroyed

After a wildfire, you often won't know how bad the damage is until you return days or weeks later. Be sure to check with officials before attempting to return to your home, to make sure it is safe to do so. There may be spot fires or other dangers nearby.

Top 7 things to do when returning home after a wildfire:

  1. Check grounds for hot spots, smoldering stumps, and vegetation.
  2. Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks or embers.
  3. Check the attic and throughout your house for any hidden burning sparks or embers.
  4. Check for fire damage to your home, turn off all appliances and make sure the meter is not damaged before turning on the main circuit breaker.
  5. Check the well or pump-house to ensure it is in working order.
  6. Be aware of looters and other predatory people looking to take advantage of your vulnerable situation. Do not hire or allow anyone to do work on your property until you've been assured they are who they say they are.
  7. Contact your insurance company.

If you suspect any danger, be sure to call 911.

What to do when Contacting Your Insurance Company

Do not delay in notifying your homeowners insurance company about the damage or destruction of your home. You may get phone calls from public adjusters or others seeking to help you rebuild, clean up, or do other types of work around your property. Speak to your insurance company before discussing the matter with anyone else. Ask your agent what you should do to tend to the immediate needs of your home. Your insurance policy may require that you take special precautions to try to minimize damage.

Record Your Losses

It will take time to complete, but as soon as possible you should get started on making a comprehensive list of everything you lost in the fire. This includes all the personal possessions you can remember and an estimate of their values. Your insurance company will ask you to detail any property you lost, including how you originally paid for items. The company may also ask for receipts for any money you spend during evacuation and recovery. Take photos of the damage as soon as you return and keep them with your records.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company

Ask your insurance company for advice. They should be able to give you names of trustworthy companies and contractors to do repairs and rebuilding. You may have to hire services to protect your home from more damage, or to repair damaged properties, estimate costs to replace destroyed property, clean the interior and exterior of your home, and more. Be sure to ask your insurance company if your policy covers these expenses, or who will be expected to pay for these services. As always, keep all of your receipts. 

Contact an Experienced Wildfire Lawyer

Your insurance policy may not offer sufficient coverage if you suffered total loss of your home. You may need to pursue recovery through other means, such as a wildfire lawsuit. A conversation with one of our experienced wildfire lawyers can open your eyes to see other options in the wake of this catastrophe. Contact us today for more information.

Returning to a Damaged Home after being Evacuated from a Wildfire

Returning to a Damaged Home after being Evacuated from a Wildfire

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