Flood and fire damage can cause damage worth thousands of dollars. However, the loss of belongings with large sentimental value is harder to quantify.
What can be done to save flood- and fire-damaged belongings that hold strong sentimental value? There’s the option of hiring one of your local restoration companies that offer content pack-out and restoration services.
Anderson Restoration, LLC, your trusted restoration company, elaborates more on what to expect during the content pack-out and restoration below:
What Is Content Pack-Out and Restoration?
It’s the final phase in the flood and fire damage restoration process wherein restoration companies will repair your damaged belongings. Before the restoration phase, it’s standard practice for restoration companies to assess the extent of flood and fire damage, take the necessary precautions to mitigate damage and decontaminate your home.
It’s important that an emergency response is started during the first 24 to 48 hours after your home suffered flood or fire damage. That’s because flood and fire damage can quickly worsen and easily affect other parts of your home if they aren’t treated as soon as possible. For instance, mold can start forming on wet surfaces within 24 to 48 hours while the corrosive properties of acidic soot that comes with fire damage can accelerate within the same period.
What to Expect During the Contents Pack-Out and Restoration Process
- Signing authorization forms – Before the restoration process can start, you will need to sign a form authorizing the restoration company to repair your possessions.
- Creating an inventory of damaged items – The pack-out process involves creating a detailed inventory to keep track of your damaged belongings and ensure nothing gets misplaced. Ultimately, it’s the homeowner who will decide which possession is worth saving. However, restoration companies can give you advice on this matter.
- Transportation of damaged belongings – Your fire- and flood-damaged belongings will be delivered to a secure, climate-controlled facility for deodorization, cleaning and restoration.
- Delivery of restored items – Once all of the items have been cleaned and restored, they will be repacked and delivered to your home.
Why Not Just Leave Your Damaged Clothes at the Local Dry Cleaner?
Damaged antiques, books, photos, furniture and artwork will no doubt need to be restored by restoration companies, but what about damaged clothes? It would certainly be cheaper to let your local dry cleaner clean but not necessarily cost-effective. That’s because studies have noted that a typical dry cleaner can only restore about 65% of damaged clothes. Restoration companies, on the other hand, are usually able to clean and restore roughly 98% of damaged clothes.
How Are Fire- and Flood-Damaged Items Restored?
The cleaning method used depends on the item. For instance, items sensitive to water are usually hand-washed while fire-damaged garments require a specialized form of dry cleaning. As for fire-damaged jewelry, restoration companies will use ultrasonic cleaning to remove soot. (The sonic vibrations can remove soot from jewelry without damaging it).
Wouldn’t It Be Cheaper to Just Replace All the Damaged Belongings?
In certain cases, it would be more cost-effective to replace all of the damaged belongings that don’t have any sentimental value. However, this still takes up a lot of time and money. And in most cases, the repairs alone would max out your insurance coverage, which forces most homeowners to pay for replacements using their own money.
Filing an Insurance Claim
After taking the necessary steps to mitigate flood and fire damage, you need to contact your insurer as soon as possible. Ask their 24/7 hotline about the steps for filing a flood or fire damage claim.
Here’s an overview of the other steps you need to take:
- Document signs of flood and fire damage – Your insurer will require proof that the damage to your home wasn’t caused by any negligence on the homeowner’s part. That’s why you need to take pictures of the damage to your interior as well as the source of the leak if applicable.
- Make an inventory of damaged belongings – During the final phase of the restoration process, your contractor will make a detailed inventory of all your damaged possessions. However, you will need to create your own inventory of the damaged items, their original costs (we recommend including receipts of the damaged items or credit card statements to support your claim), and replacement costs. Take note that the replacement costs will be different from damaged items’ original costs. In most cases, insurers will only pay for the estimated repair costs, minus depreciation or a decrease in the item’s value as a result of natural wear and tear or age.
Important note: don’t throw away damaged items you think aren’t worth repairing until after the adjuster (who will be assessing the extent of water or fire damage) visits your home. If you threw them away before the assessment, your insurer might not cover these items.
How Long Until You Receive a Reply From Your Insurer?
After sending a written notice to your insurer, you can expect a call or an email from them within a day or two.
Meeting With the Adjuster
An adjuster will then visit your home to assess the extent of fire and flood damage. Some homeowners feel intimidated meeting with an adjuster. However, this shouldn’t stop them from raising any concerns they may have about their insurance payout.
Here’s a tip: if the source of the water damage was a major leak, it would be a good idea to have your roof repair contractor onsite when your adjuster visits. That way, they will be able to compare notes and discuss your home’s repair needs.
Understanding Your Insurance Estimate
After assessing your claim, your insurer should reply within 15 business days. If the damage is covered, they will provide an insurance estimate.
Here are some of the terms you may encounter:
- Actual cash value (ACV) – The ACV is the total amount needed for repairs or a roof replacement. Keep in mind that your insurer will only cover materials of the same cost and quality as the original (after taking into account depreciation).
- Depreciation – Loss of value caused by aging or natural wear and tear.
- Deductible – This is the amount that you will have to pay yourself.
- Loss of use coverage or additional living expense – As the name suggests, this term refers to the reimbursement for motel rooms, meals, and other expenses you may incur while living in temporary accommodation.
What You Need to Know About Storm Damage Claims
The process for filing a storm damage claim is similar. Keep in mind that to keep your insurance coverage intact, you need to maintain your roof routinely. Remember: insurers will only cover damage caused by extreme weather events, not damage caused by negligence on the homeowner’s part.
How often should you have your roof inspected? As a general rule, you should schedule a roof inspection at least twice a year and after an extreme weather event. What if there aren’t any leaks in your roof? It would still be a good idea to have your roof inspected. After all, it takes time for signs of storm damage to appear. And by the time they emerge, it’s already too late to mitigate damage. Remember: the sooner leaks are detected and roof repair is conducted, the lower the risk moisture damage will affect other parts of your home.
Important note: filing an insurance claim isn’t as straightforward as it seems. If you’re having trouble filing a claim, don’t hesitate to consult one of your local roofers.
Anderson Restoration LLC, a roofer with over 30 years of experience, offers a wide range of professional exterior services, including roof replacement as well as fire and water damage restoration services. To request a free estimate, call us at (281) 376-7474 or (817) 226-2111. You can also fill out this form.