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Top 10 Things To Do Now

  • GATHER YOUR INSURANCE DOCUMENTS (policy, renewals); if you do not have these records, contact your insurance agent, broker or company.
  • NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY OF YOUR LOSS. Reporting your claim to your insurance company promptly is important. Do not be rushed into any kind of quick settlement. You must first understand your rights under your policy. Also, do not give a recorded or sworn statement to your insurance company until you understand your rights.
  • DOCUMENT YOUR LOSSES. This includes obtaining photos/videos of the exterior and interior of your home. Friends and family can help out. Figuring out a list of inventory items that were damaged by the fire and establishing/proving their value can often be a tedious but critical process to recovering under an insurance policy.
  • DEVELOP A "SCOPE OF LOSS" along with your insurance company.
  • DO NOT START REPAIRS or rebuilding without first getting instructions from your insurance company.
  • OBTAIN AN INDEPENDENT ESTIMATE of the cost of repairing your home. Make sure any contractor you contact for a bid is licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). 
  • TRACK YOUR EXPENSES. Keep a log and all receipts of your expenses; this includes emergency housing, rental cars, meals and clothing.
  • LOG OR KEEP A COPY OF EVERY COMMUNICATION with your insurance company and adjuster.
  • CONFIRM ALL AGREEMENTS IN WRITING.
  • DO NOT SIGN ANY RELEASES OR WAIVERS without knowing your rights.
United Policy Holders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer rights, provides useful information to consumers on all types of insurance: www.uphelp.org