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HOW TO FILE YOUR SMOKE DAMAGE INSURANCE CLAIMS

Home or business owners must deal with more than just fire damage after a fire—smoke damage as well as water damage are issues that must be addressed. Safe and effective cleaning and removal of smoke damage is a job often best left to professionals like ServiceMaster Restore. Without proper cleaning techniques and the right equipment, it can be very difficult to restore a home or business after it's been damaged by smoke and fire.

What is Smoke Damage?

Smoke damage is both the odor and physical residue left behind from the burning of materials during a fire. Wood, fabrics, plastics and other materials produce a variety of odors and residues when burned. Some materials, such as synthetics, leave behind a black, almost oily residue, while others like paper and cotton leave behind a more powdery substance. Different cleaning products and techniques are needed to safely and thoroughly remove smoke damage, often requiring professional know-how and equipment. Common items affected by smoke damage after a fire:

  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Window treatments
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Art work
  • Books and photographs

Smoke damage, if left untreated, can leave behind unsightly stains, discolorations, corrosion and permanent damage.

Tips for Filing Smoke Damage Insurance Claims

When you’re faced with smoke damage, keep the following tips in mind when working with your insurance agent.

  1. Call your insurance company or agent immediately following a fire. Do not wait.
  2. Review your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. If the policy was lost in the fire, your insurance company or agent can provide another copy. Look on the declarations page for information regarding you policy's coverage, deductibles, limitations or exclusions and if there are any filing deadlines.
  3. If possible, take photos or video of the damage. Try not to disturb the affected area. Allow only necessary authorities on site.
  4. Call a professional smoke damage removal team like ServiceMaster Restore® to come out and assess the damage and provide a remediation plan.
  5. Begin gathering all the necessary information needed to file the claim. This information may include but is not limited to:
  • Date of the loss
  • Type of damage (fire, smoke, water or all three?)
  • Location of the damage
  • Contact information for the property owner
  • Your personal contact information if you're not the property owner
  • A copy of the police report
  • Remediation estimates
  • Receipts for all repairs, restoration and other related costs
  • Receipts for any hotels or meals if the damage forced you to find other lodging
  • Complete list of all damaged items/building materials
  1. Verify with your insurance agent the procedures and timeline for filling all parts of the claim.

When faced with fire, smoke or water losses, ServiceMaster Restore® guarantees to answer all calls to 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663) 24/7/365. We're there with our network of providers to begin essential emergency on-site service within two to four hours of the initial call.

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