Recovering from a fire may take a long time and many of the things you have to do will be new to you. If you are not insured, your recovery from a fire loss most likely will be dependent upon your own resources.
The Pasadena Fire Department may be able to help you. Call (626) 744-4655.
Private organizations that can help include the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. You also could talk with your church or synagogue. Local civic groups such as the Lions or Rotary Clubs also can be of help.
If you are insured, your insurance will be the most important single component in recovering from a fire loss. A number of coverage's are available such as - homeowner's, tenant's or condominium owner's insurance policies. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer. The insurer promises to do certain things for you. In turn, you have certain obligations. Among your duties after a fire loss would be to give immediate notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer's agent. Protect the property from further damage by making sensible or necessary repairs such as covering holes in the roof or walls. Take reasonable precautions against loss, such as draining water lines in winter if the house will be unheated for some time. The insurance company may refuse to pay losses that occur from not taking such reasonable care. Make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate and replacement cost. Cooperate with the insurer or his/her adjuster by exhibiting the damaged property. Submit, within a stated time period (usually 30 - 60 days), a formal statement of loss. Such a statement should include:
A pre-fire inventory along with a videotape of all your property could prove to be a valuable record when making your claim. When adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your Federal income tax, you will have to deal with various viewpoints on the value of your property. Some terms used are listed below:
"Loss adjustment" is the process of establishing the value of the damaged property. This is the result of a joint effort among a number of parties. Basic parties to the process are the owner or occupant and the insurance company and its representatives. The owner or occupant is required by the insurance contract to prepare an inventory and cooperate in the loss valuation process. An insurance agent may act as the adjuster if the loss is small. The insurer may send an adjuster who is a permanent member of the insurer's staff, or the company may hire an independent adjuster to act in its behalf. It is the insurance adjuster's job, as a representative of the insurance company, to monitor and assist in the loss valuation process and to bring the loss to a just and equitable settlement. Either you or the insurer may hire the services of a fire damage restoration firm or fire damage service company. These firms provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following:
It is important to coordinate with the insurance adjuster before contracting for any services. If you invade the insurer's responsibility area by contracting without its knowledge or consent, you may be left with bills to pay that otherwise would have been covered by the insurer.