In the event a fire damages your home, business or property you should:
Mitigate - Use your best efforts to make temporary repairs so that the condition doesn't get worse. This will prevent the insurance company from later claiming that your fire damages are the result of your failure to mitigate your damages. For example, if you have a roof leak after a fire, hire a roofer to put a tarp over the leak area. Try not to pay the repairman in cash for the temporary repairs and if you do have to pay in cash, get a receipt and his name and contact information. Submit the temporary repair receipts to your insurance company for payment.
Document - Take pictures of all affected areas. Take video, if you can, of all affected areas. Hold on to any receipts and estimates for repairs. Get the contact information for any contractors that come to your property to give you estimates. Do not throw out any correspondence or documents that are sent to you by your insurance company. If you are mailing anything to your insurance company do it by certified mail, return receipt requested, and make copies of whatever you are sending for your records. Keep a journal of all your communications with your insurance company. If you become aware of any witnesses that have knowledge of any aspect of your claim, record their name and contact information. Don't throw out any of the fire damaged items in your house.
Notify - Put your insurance company on notice of the fire insurance claim. Call your insurance company and let them know what happened. Get the name of the insurance company adjuster assigned to your claim, his or her contact information and the claim number.
Call Us - Let us use our experience to help you. Even if your fire insurance claim has been closed or even if you unknowingly accepted the small check they gave you, you may still be able to pursue your claim - you may be able to reopen an unfair claim years after the fire loss.