Before getting into the nuts and bolts about insurance policies, the different types of budgets contained in them and my suggestions about how to most efficiently spend that money (I’m so good at that, people pay me to do it for them!), I felt that it was more important to address the most immediate needs you may have because of your loss.
Our natural first reaction upon seeing our home in shades of black and grey was that “Everything we worked all our lives for was gone.” It’s a devastating feeling. All of the happy memories we collected through keepsakes and memorabilia are, in
most cases, unrecognizable. What we did find was that the most important thing we build in a life time is our relationships. The fire made the best of those relationships even stronger. It took a while, but I know that our three kids became stronger and more self-assured from the experience. We came out of the experience with a chance to re-build a better house and we had new things, but we appreciate everything so much more.
From my own experience, here’s the first most important thing I learned, It’s easier for most of us to be givers than takers. Your family and friends are reaching out to you, asking what they can do. Allow them to help you. It makes them feel less helpless themselves.
4 Easy things that friends, family and neighbors can do:
1. Help in your temporary living accommodations search. Your homeowners insurance is going to pay for whatever you spend. If you’re still on a friends couch or in their guest room, you don’t need to be.
2. Your insurance will cover meals out till you’re set up in your permanent “temporary place”. Take advantage of that while you can. After that, allow your support group to make meals for you for a while till you’re all settled in. It will help out a lot.
3. People will want to give you things to get you back on your feet. One suggestion is copies of photos from your good times together or other shared memorabilia. We were able to replace a lot of lost memorabilia and family history that way. Our family members were very generous sharing family mementos to replace some that we had lost.
4. Do not enter into any agreement with contractors or workmen without a close friend or family member there as a second opinion. You have been through a lot. They can help be a voice of reason. You were victims of something out of your control, but now, unscrupulous companies can take advantage of your fears, exhaustion, and helplessness.
NOTE: Beware of Vultures that call themselves “Insurance Advocates” or similar names. They convince victims of loss that they need their company (for approximately 1% of the claim) as a “negotiator”. For the most part, they are not attorneys, and provide no service that your insurance company or a good General Contractor wouldn’t provide for you.
This is too soon to be forking over money to attorneys as well. You will probably find that, if you have a reputable insurnace company, you’re in good hands. Really!
Later this week, I’ll address the difference between Clean Up Contractors, Disaster Contractors, General Contractors and Design-Build Contractors as well as Cost Plus Contracts and Low Bid Contracts. How fun is that??!!