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Old 09-14-2019, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cp102 View Post
What I have learned is make sure you keep receipts for everything you can. I had most of my receipts on in a Neat scan program, I am now using Paperless. Because of this I could prove my furniture was more expensive than what they thought, and I got replacement cost. Take pictures of your house and whats in it before a fire or a disaster happens. And after the disaster take as many pics as you can.
Instead of pictures use a video camera, have someone walk with you and open drawers cabinets etc. Make sure copies of the video or the records are not stored in the house.

Quote:
Stay organized. When the insurance send you a list of items they will pay for. Make sure as you claim mark items off so you know what you have claimed, keep a folder of every receipt submitted. Because they will somehow miss a receipt. I checked everything and went back and resubmitted. We lost almost everything so it can be daunting and depressing at times to keep doing paperwork.
We had Erie insurance and did not have to go through this nonsense. There was lot of stuff that could of been salvaged but they declared it complete loss. You hear a lot horror stories with insurance companies, on the other hand they are known for being really good. If it wasn't damaged by fire, water or smoke it was damaged by the firefighters. I don't care what it is, if you had substantial fire it touches everything, minimally that smoke smell is everything.

They sent an inventory specialist who went through the rooms they could and they counted everything, she had recorder and opened a desk for example. "Box of rubber bands, 50 count, next item". For items that were detroyes we simply had to list them, they denied nothing but we weren't claiming anything super expensive either. The other thing was the policy was maxed anyway and we never even got to listing the attic what was in the where most of the damage occurred.

They took her information and then produced an inventory sheet that was about 100 pages long. It listed the item, cash value, replacement value and reference to where they obtained the value if applicable.

You don't realize how much you have until you count it. As the lady explained who was counting, think of your spice rack. You could have 100 plus just there.

We had a team come in to take items they considered non salvage and take pics and box it up. I asked them for their list. There were items like the Xmas tree , ornaments, angels, etc. Things that even though smoke, soot was all that got them, they were ruined. These pics also helped me claim these items.

Quote:
If you can get a replacement policy on your household items. It will make a big difference when you go to buy everything you need again.
This can't be said enough, the cash value they had listed on the inventory sheet was typically about 25 or 30% of the replacement cost. If you do not have replacement cost you are going to get about $50 for a $200 TV. It's a pretty big deal if you have to buy everything.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
5,958 posts, read 6,140,700 times
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Either way $50 or $200 you’re not getting a real TV. You’re about a full zero off from even a decent TV lol.

Glad to hear you’re coming along with this massive project, OP! What a nightmare. But definitely makes me think I need more pictures and documentation of what I have.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:50 PM
 
39,903 posts, read 41,377,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanLB View Post
Either way $50 or $200 you’re not getting a real TV. You’re about a full zero off from even a decent TV lol.

It was an example and have you priced TV's lately? Unless you are buying a billboard you don't need to spend 1K.....
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:00 PM
 
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OP, thanks and condolences both. My questions are more about the emotional toll the fire took, if anything. Were you home at the time of the fire? If so, did you try to fight it yourself (and if so, how), or evacuate and wait for fire/rescue? Did you lose the most important stuff - people or pets? Were you able to salvage anything with sentimental value? To what did the fire department attribute the cause? And finally, are you putting in a fire suppression system (sprinklers, alarms, etc.) in the rebuild?

Sorry if these questions are intrusive, don't feel you need to answer anything you deem too personal. My own history is that I'm a little freaked out by the idea of a total house fire, and keep extinguishers and a hose handy. I watched a friend's house burn as a teenager, and was on the "first response team" at work, extinguishing several small fires (trash cans, smoking receptacles with trash in them, one small building) with the team until the professionals arrived. I understand how quickly fire spreads, and how difficult it can be to extinguish, I have a great deal of respect for its power. My next home will likely have smoke detectors going to an alarm company, and if I have it built, sprinklers. I'm more worried about the dogs than I am myself, I can work the doorknob.
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Old 09-15-2019, 04:03 AM
 
983 posts, read 654,735 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly Q. Bobalink View Post
OP, thanks and condolences both. My questions are more about the emotional toll the fire took, if anything. Were you home at the time of the fire? If so, did you try to fight it yourself (and if so, how), or evacuate and wait for fire/rescue? Did you lose the most important stuff - people or pets? Were you able to salvage anything with sentimental value? To what did the fire department attribute the cause? And finally, are you putting in a fire suppression system (sprinklers, alarms, etc.) in the rebuild?

Sorry if these questions are intrusive, don't feel you need to answer anything you deem too personal. My own history is that I'm a little freaked out by the idea of a total house fire, and keep extinguishers and a hose handy. I watched a friend's house burn as a teenager, and was on the "first response team" at work, extinguishing several small fires (trash cans, smoking receptacles with trash in them, one small building) with the team until the professionals arrived. I understand how quickly fire spreads, and how difficult it can be to extinguish, I have a great deal of respect for its power. My next home will likely have smoke detectors going to an alarm company, and if I have it built, sprinklers. I'm more worried about the dogs than I am myself, I can work the doorknob.

Yes we were home when the fire happened. We we on different floors of the house. I never knew the house was on fire until a neighbor kept hitting our gate trying to get it opened. I thought it was an Amazon employee delivering a package trying to get my attention. So I went down to the bedroom to get my robe and when I opened the door, I could see the back porch lit up. I almost opened the door until I remember we just saw a show Chicago Fire and they said not to open the door. I quickly screamed for my husband to get out he grabbed the dog that was with him. I got the other 2 and got out. By then the fire was in the ceiling and going thru the house rapidly.



We lost all sentimental items, we couldn't salvage anything. We never tried to fight the fire as it was already going too fast by the time we discovered it.


The fire department came within a few minutes, neighbors called in the fire when they saw the smoke. We were still inside the back porch was blazing. We have a prairie style home with crawl space attic, when the air conditioning kicked on the fire spread rapidly. It burned between the floors and spread to the inside of the walls.



The only thing I got out of the house that day were the dogs and my mac computer. I knew everything receipts , taxes, etc were on that computer. So I gave the neighbor the dogs and ran back in.



I grabbed my purse since it was near the computer, I would need my inhaler.



We didn't add sprinklers, just regular smoke alarms. And yes fire is swift, alot faster than you would think, our house was over 3000 sq ft it took no time to spread quickly. It burned between floors, and in the walls, areas that didn't look as bad, when they opened the wall it was burnt.



But the #1 thing i remind myself all the time we are safe and so were our dogs. Everything else is replaceable. Maybe not sentimental things, but many pics I can get from our son and his wife, I have some on ancestry.com


The hardest thing is doing a claim and looking at what you lost and re-buying everything. I can honestly say I am tired of shopping.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:18 AM
 
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OP, so sorry for your losses and all you have lived through.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:51 AM
 
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"The only thing I got out of the house that day were the dogs and my mac computer. I knew everything receipts , taxes, etc were on that computer. So I gave the neighbor the dogs and ran back in. "

Not picking on OP but people please don't do this. Many people have died because they went back into a burning structure. Nothing you have is worth it.

Semi-related - people, please backup your important computer files. Computers die, viruses happen, human error is common, etc. For MAC users - iCloud is super easy to use and cheap (enable the family plan to cover multiple macbooks and iphones).
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Old 09-15-2019, 12:03 PM
 
983 posts, read 654,735 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nov3 View Post
Good to know! Thanks for the tips!

Insurance doesn't cover storage fee? I need to check mine.
Insurance pays for storage for one year, we are almost at a year now. Oir hime wont be ready til 13-14 months its looking closer to the 14 month.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:08 PM
 
806 posts, read 242,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cp102 View Post
Yes we were home when the fire happened. We we on different floors of the house. I never knew the house was on fire until a neighbor kept hitting our gate trying to get it opened. I thought it was an Amazon employee delivering a package trying to get my attention. So I went down to the bedroom to get my robe and when I opened the door, I could see the back porch lit up. I almost opened the door until I remember we just saw a show Chicago Fire and they said not to open the door. I quickly screamed for my husband to get out he grabbed the dog that was with him. I got the other 2 and got out. By then the fire was in the ceiling and going thru the house rapidly.
We lost all sentimental items, we couldn't salvage anything. We never tried to fight the fire as it was already going too fast by the time we discovered it.
The fire department came within a few minutes, neighbors called in the fire when they saw the smoke. We were still inside the back porch was blazing. We have a prairie style home with crawl space attic, when the air conditioning kicked on the fire spread rapidly. It burned between the floors and spread to the inside of the walls.
The only thing I got out of the house that day were the dogs and my mac computer. I knew everything receipts , taxes, etc were on that computer. So I gave the neighbor the dogs and ran back in.
I grabbed my purse since it was near the computer, I would need my inhaler.
We didn't add sprinklers, just regular smoke alarms. And yes fire is swift, alot faster than you would think, our house was over 3000 sq ft it took no time to spread quickly. It burned between floors, and in the walls, areas that didn't look as bad, when they opened the wall it was burnt.
But the #1 thing i remind myself all the time we are safe and so were our dogs. Everything else is replaceable. Maybe not sentimental things, but many pics I can get from our son and his wife, I have some on ancestry.com
The hardest thing is doing a claim and looking at what you lost and re-buying everything. I can honestly say I am tired of shopping.
Thanks for the information, it may help people going forward (I personally need to get some fire safes to put critical paperwork in, I use a safe deposit box but can only keep so much in there). It's great you were able to save yourselves and your dogs, that's the most important thing. I have my wallet where I could grab it in an emergency, having a Visa would make things much easier than having to rely on the kindness of strangers.

I'm a bit of a minimalist and would not miss or replace a lot of my possessions if they disappeared tomorrow (since they were accumulated over the last fifty years), but I should also get photos scanned into digital format so they can go into safe deposit on a thumb drive. If I had my way, my next home would be a sprinkler-equipped, earth sheltered "bunker" which is more resistant to disasters, as well as being much cheaper to heat and cool. I've always wanted an attached garage, but see the value in not attaching to the house something filled with the things most likely to start a fire (cars, tools, gasoline, etc.). In the end, everything turns to dust, including us - but I'd like to put that off as far into the future as possible, LOL. Thanks again.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:29 PM
 
1,210 posts, read 341,013 times
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Things I learned after a fire (in my apartment building; luckily contained to another wing and just smoke damage for me):

--Make sure you have *enough* insurance. Don't underestimate what your stuff is worth. Don't just consider the big things; how much would it cost to replace every coathanger you have? Etc. Many of my neighbors, if they had insurance at all, didn't have enough. One that I knew told me of triaging what they would replace and what they wouldn't (up to the amount of the insurance), and of spending months cleaning things (my insurance included having my stuff professionally cleaned).

--Use plastic in the kitchen as little as possible. Some of my plastic belongings I cleaned successfully and there isn't a smell now, but I threw out everything from the kitchen because I didn't know if it absorbed chemicals from the smoke and I didn't want it touching my food just in case. I replaced this stuff with glass, ceramic, and metal as much as possible.

--You will be emotional after. Even if it's just smoke damage. Give yourself time if possible. If your insurance company's cleaners are like mine, they'll come out and tell you what they think they can clean and what they think they can't. I had them pack the stuff they were taking to clean and leave the rest be. Then I sorted through what I thought I could clean myself or wanted to at least try, what I was letting go, and what I wanted to keep even if I couldn't clean it successfully. By the end of it-- several days in a cold, stinking apartment dealing with my stuff-- I wasn't thinking clearly, was tired and overwhelmed. I wish I had packed up more stuff to figure out later because there's some stuff I regret getting rid of, especially after I found much of what I did save cleaned up better than I expected-- even the plastic stuff-- and I probably could have salvaged more.

--Yes, you will get tired of buying new stuff. Documenting stuff you lost. (Saving receipts is a lifesaver, as is what some suggest of doing a video walkthrough of your house, a very thorough one, opening each drawer and cabinet and closet and clearly showing everything. It will help with your memory and with proving what you had. I have a spreadsheet of my stuff now. Remember to update your records when you get something new, especially if it's a large item.). Again, if you're able, give yourself time rather than overwhelming yourself replacing every last spatula this minute.

--Use your stuff. Quit saving that good china for special occasions or not using the nice bubble bath or saving the last couple of cookies. It could be gone in an instant in a disaster. Use it. You can buy more. I was not the only one who learned this lesson in that incident.

--Put up signs to alert firefighters to your pets, so if there is a way it is safe for them to save them, they know to keep an eye out. In my building they managed to rescue all of the pets, in addition to the people (except for a few they couldn't find, but those were okay in the end as well). My sign even says where my cat is likely to be hiding (so they look there first and don't waste time).

--Needless to say, have plans for how to escape a disaster. Know when you can't fight it yourself, but know how to when you can (stovetop fires, etc.), and when to give up and get out (and always call the fire department first).
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