After the fire is extinguished, the building is inspected for damage. This can result in a building either being, “red tagged,” in which it is determined that the building is too dangerous to inhabit or, “yellow tagged,” in which it is determined that the habitability of the building is limited (for example during daylight hours only.) In either case, relocation to an alternative location is necessary.
If you are a homeowner or renter, your policy covers your relocation to a suitable premises should yours be rendered uninhabitable. Your insurance company, however, may make arrangements for a living space that does not meet the needs of your household (e.g. the house you are being relocated to is too small for your family.) Businesses with extra expense coverage are also entitled to a payment to relocate to a temporary location during the period of restoration.
Your insurance company will also make a determination as to how much money it will take to make repairs to the building. Often, this is based on a formula which will not take into account any specific aspects of the property damaged and will be based on utilization of the lowest quality materials. This will result in a claim payment that will be less than what it will take to repair the building and return it to a habitable condition.
In addition to arriving at a figure to repair the building, your insurance company will also arrive at a value of the contents that were damaged in the fire. It will require specific documentation in order for them to make the claim payment for your loss. If you don’t meet their requirements, you won’t get paid.
During this process, you will have questions and need assistance in navigating your claim. The insurance company will assign you an adjuster who most likely has such a heavy caseload that he or she will not have the time to give your claim the attention it needs, nor will they have the time to properly handle any questions you may have.