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I’ve Lost My Home in a Fire, What Do I Do?

Fires can be a devastating disaster and completely life changing. All of your possessions can be destroyed in an instant, and leave you and your family homeless. Fires that destroy homes can be started on purpose by an arsonist, by natural causes like a wild fire, or by an accident like a grease fire, careless smoking, cooking accidents, candles, and faulty wiring or defective electronics. While families may reeling from the disaster that a fire can wreak upon one’s life, it is important to take action as soon as possible to salvage what is left and begin the process of recovering and getting back up on your feet.


  1. Get an advance: If you had to evacuate your home and did not have time to grab any essentials, ask your insurance company for an advance against your eventual claim. You will not have to file not have to file a claim for this and a check can be brought to you so you can purchase the necessities such as clothes to wear to work and hygienic products.
  2. Secure your property: All policies require you to take all appropriate steps to minimize the damage to your property, or “mitigate damages.” Ways you can do this after suffering fire damage are:
    • Stop the fire from smoldering by making sure the fire department helps you with the steps to take to prevent a flare up.
    • Seal up your property by boarding up the doors and windows and any other openings. You may also want to consider erecting a fence or barrier around your house as well. This prevents vandals from coming in and causing further damage.
    • Keep a constant eye on the property to make sure new problems haven’t surfaced and people have not caused any more damage.
  3. File your claim right away: The first step you need to take is notifying your agent about the damage either by phone or email. After that you will be asked to file “proof of loss claim,” meaning that you will have to itemize a list of property that was damaged or destroyed and their value.
  4. Make sure the insurance company does their job: Insurance companies are required to act promptly, and if there is no dispute to your claim, keep on them to compensate you in a timely manner. If you fail to do this, your claim may fall to the bottom of the pile and your road to recovery may take way longer than imagined.
  5. Keep track of your living expenses: Your policy will most likely include a “loss of use” clause, which will reimburse you for living expenses while you are not living in your home. However, you are only entitled to additional living expenses, meaning that you can only recover if you are spending more than what you would usually spend when living at home.


Insurance companies are for-profit entities that are more concerned about their bottom line than protecting their customers. If your home has suffered fire damage, it is crucial for you to sit down with an attorney and go over your policy to maximize your benefits.

If your fire claim has been delayed, denied, or disputed by your insurance carrier, it is important to hire an insurance lawyer as soon as possible. You may be dealing with an insurance company looking to take advantage of you and violate your rights. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will aggressively fight to make sure you are properly treated by your carrier. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation on your claim at 727-451-6900 or via our online contact form.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765