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Old 09-14-2019, 04:59 AM
983 posts, read 654,735 times
Reputation: 1584


Its been 11 months since our house was burned down. We are still not in our house. It will be another 2 months approx. We ran into many things along the way, weather was not our friend it delayed the new roof for a few months because it rained so much.

Our windows took awhile to come in, we have 60 and they were custom sizes, Doors the same way. I am glad we won't be the ones putting new blinds in every window.

Because it took awhile to get the roof done, it backed everything else up. Trades who had agreed to do the plumbing, electric, had alot of jobs in the summer so backed out on their bids. Air conditioning, also backed out but thankfully the company who serviced our house agreed to do to, the owner really went out of his way to help us. This took time to find new trades willing to do the jobs for same price.

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.

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 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.

You need to take your time and be thorough. Because alot of small items add up. Take a break when it becomes overwhelming.

But most of all be aware you have 1 year to file a claim and get your money back. After one year its on you. I had started to purchase small items of furniture, until I found out our house would not be done within a year it would be 13-14 months. We would lose alot of money on depreciation of our items if not repurchased. I didn't want to have to do a large move from a rental to our home. I wanted the new furniture delivered there but...

You can request an extension for the home , since its not completed they could still run into unforeseen costs, that if we didn't get an extension...it would be on us to pay. We received a 6 month extension.

I never thought it would take so long to rebuild. They kept the exterior of the house , gutted entire interior , the garages were not burned. Inspectors were tough and we failed a few times. What one inspector wanted another didn't seem to care and wanted something else. There are 3 different inspectors. They inspect air conditioning, electric, plumbing and framing all together. So if one fails you have failed.

We are looking forward to going home. There were blessings, we met alot of trades people who worked on our home who had such a great faith..they made our day! They prayed for us and our home when they were working on it. Our neighbors were wonderful! We found a rental around the corner. Don't wait for someone to find you a rental reach out to realtors, management companies, post on your neighborhood facebook, and nextdoor.

Beaware of the limits your policy has. Look at it now! Because you never know when your home could have a disaster. 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.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:48 AM
Location: D.C.
2,311 posts, read 1,930,944 times
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This is excellent advice!

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and share all of this!

I am curious, may I ask who is your insurance company?
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:29 AM
983 posts, read 654,735 times
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Our insurance company is USAA, they have been wonderful.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:37 AM
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,842 posts, read 2,006,853 times
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You haven't mentioned learning how much sheer stuff you can live without.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:48 AM
Location: D.C.
2,311 posts, read 1,930,944 times
Reputation: 3593
Originally Posted by cp102 View Post
Our insurance company is USAA, they have been wonderful.
Yep, can’t argue against them. Not cheap in my area, but their reputation is solid. I had them forever until this current house and we got into a dispute over its replacement value. They were citing market value instead. But when it comes to needing your insurance company to step up, they’re about the best in the business.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:50 AM
4,934 posts, read 4,196,840 times
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Good advice. I hope you get into your rebuilt house soon.

Thank you for the reminder to update our documentation. I'm long overdue in doing this.

Make sure to look at your policy & see if you have proper coverage. Our agent asks us to do this each year. You might need additional riders for antiques, jewelry, artwork, or a gun collection. Taking annual video of each room & its contents is a good idea. Consider it a video inventory. Also video any shops & garages full of tools & equipment and make an exterior of house video, too.

The big thing is to store all these support documents & video off site. At a minimum get it all scanned and email the PDFs to yourself.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:52 PM
Location: Kansas City North
4,213 posts, read 7,488,517 times
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RE: buying new furniture before you’re ready for it because of claim time limitations: could you have a POD delivered to your house, and have new purchases stored in it (leaving the POD in your driveway/yard). You’d still have to get the furniture inside when you’re ready to move in, but there would be much less handling.

Glad things are going well.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:44 PM
5,582 posts, read 3,015,422 times
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Excellent advice. Thank you.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:20 PM
6,578 posts, read 3,069,142 times
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Good to know! Thanks for the tips!

Insurance doesn't cover storage fee? I need to check mine.
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Old 09-14-2019, 03:46 PM
983 posts, read 654,735 times
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Insurance covers storage up to the year of the original claim date. We have dishes in storage, a few pictures that made it and 2 bar stools, washer and dryer. So they will bring this to our rental before the one year date. They will pay for a move though , from the rental to our house. We thought of a pod, but we would have to move everything ourselves if its at the rental they will move it and place it for us. Since my husband is disabled he cant lift anything. Thats why we decided ti buy and put it in rental. We would lose on the living room alone almost 5000 if we don't buy before the year is up. It adds up quickly and we liked what we had.

We are not hoarders, the rooms werent overfilled. So we do miss what we had but also know you have to move forward , you cant look back. My grandfather clock had carved doors that were hand made. It was a large curio grandfather clock, we purchased overseas. You can't find anything like it here. But i will buy another grandfather clock and i will be happy with it, because thats all we can do. Our house will look different we arent trying to recreate it.

It was oil aged bronze hardware we went with brushed nickel. We decided we would just go with a different look since we needed almost everything. That way we aren't constantly reminded of what we had.

But please take pictures those helped us immensely to prove what we had.
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