What to Consider When Rebuilding and Restoring Your Home After Fire Damage

Posted by: RestoreMore on December 4, 2021

If your home is seriously damaged after a fire, you have two choices—buy a new home and let someone else fix yours, or restore and rebuild. If you decide to rebuild your home from the ground up, your homeowner's insurance will cover the cost, up to policy limits for reconstruction value. If you only have areas that are destroyed, your insurance will work with a restoration team to bring your home back to safe conditions (and full monetary value.)

Either way, your insurance policy is designed to protect you and ease the devastating financial loss. 

Immediate Steps to Take

No one can think straight with the trauma of a house fire. But if your house burns down or is seriously damaged, three of the first things you should do:

  1. Call Restore More. Not only do you need help with the immediate safety issues at your home site, but you will also need expert advice and accurate quotes to restore the damaged building materials. 
  2. Call your insurance agent. Even though it’s difficult to think about all the things you need to do when coping with the trauma of a house fire, starting an insurance claim initiates the process. Then you can begin to access support services and address the immediate needs you’ll have after your house burns down 
  3. Find temporary housing. It will likely be unsafe, if not impossible, to stay in your own home after a fire. Your homeowner's insurance policy likely includes coverage for you to obtain temporary housing that sustains your current standard of living. Confirm this in your policy. Be sure to save all receipts for any costs stemming from your loss: temporary housing, meals out, emergency clothes, car rental if your vehicle was damaged, etc. For what is covered, read the “Loss of Use” provision in your insurance policy. There, you’ll find what does and does not qualify as Additional Living Expenses (ALE).

After you file a claim with your homeowner's insurance company, an adjuster will visit your home in person to assess the damage and determine how much money you’re eligible to receive based on the type of policy you have.  It’s important to have adequate dwelling coverage. The amount of dwelling coverage you have is directly correlated to the reconstruction value of your home; the higher your coverage, the more money you’ll have to rebuild your home.

However, it’s important to know that the reconstruction value of your home may differ from the actual cost to fully rebuild your home. That’s because rebuilding can be very expensive when you account for things like labor and temporary living costs. 

Additional Damage Needs Extra Care

When your home had a serious fire, there are usually main damages and secondary damages. For instance, water from firefighters can flood the bottom floor of your home. On top of that, the flood damage could cause mold or rust. Additional damages will be constantly addressed by the restoration team.

Can I Cash Out and Move?

The short answer is that yes, you can.  However, the amount you get from the insurance company depends on what type of policy you have.  There are some policies out there that have the option to cash out, but you will want to verify that by checking with your agent or insurance company. Do you have…?

  • Replacement Cost or Actual Cash Value. This is the replacement cost minus depreciation. If the house is totally destroyed, this is the amount it will take to completely rebuild it.  If you have too little coverage, you may not have enough to rebuild.  FAR too little and you may even face an additional penalty on top of that for not properly insuring your property.    
  • With a Cash-Out Option or Agreed Value policy, you may be able to cash out and decline rebuilding your home in the event of a total loss. You will receive the replacement cost amount on your home whether you decide to rebuild there or not. If you decide to cash out and move, you will receive the depreciated amount.

Your insurance agent will work with you (and the restoration team) to access your available coverage to save your home if you decide to stay.  RestoreMore has years of experience coordinating with all the major carriers and can help organize files, provide documentation, and smooth communication during the process. 

Professional Post Fire Damage Cleanup In Milwaukee

Count on us to restore your home after a fire– small and contained or a major loss. More than just qualified, certified, and customer-centric, RestoreMore is your business neighbor and community partner. Contact us for quality fire damage cleanup services. More than just qualified, certified, and customer-centric, RestoreMore is your business neighbor and community partner.

Frequently Asked Questions

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