Living through a fire is traumatizing enough. When that fire rips through your home and eats away everything you’ve built up for yourself, it’s so much worse. You haven’t just gone through a terrifying physical ordeal – you’ve lost pretty much everything. There are many things that you won’t get back.

It isn’t as bad as it used to be, of course. Things like photos and memories are usually backed up on the cloud thanks to the many options available to people today. Anything that was hard-copy only, as well as all your furniture, thrift finds, great gifts, art you’ve made and so on – that can be gone.

Losing all of that is stressful, it’s horrifying, and it can be devastating, even if everyone got through it okay. To help you get through that ordeal, use these steps to get you and your family back up on your feet:

How to Deal with the Insurance Company

One thing that can help this ordeal is your homeowners insurance payout. You’ll need a lot of money to get back up on your feet, which is what that insurance was for in the first place. Getting that money, however, can be a challenge, which is why you’ll want to hire a homeowners insurance attorney right from the bat. Not only do you need the maximum payout according to your plan, but you also need it as soon as possible. Having a lawyer on your side can help you get the most out of your plan and speed up the process. Don’t assume your insurance company is going to do their best for you without a lawyer on your side, either, as the entire business model of the insurance company is to withhold payouts as much as possible.

Find a New, Safe Place to Live

It isn’t safe to stay in your old property, even if it’s just damaged by smoke. There are many short-term rental options that you can rent every month out there. You can even find an Airbnb or property on and rent by the month that way. This is essential to get your family back up on their feet, especially considering serious repairs or a full rebuild will need to be done before you can return home.

It’s important to keep track of any expenses you take on in an itemized list. This way, your lawyer can use that list to help get you properly compensated.

Deal with the Emotional and Mental Fallback

You can and will rebuild your home. You’ll buy new items and make new memories. What you cannot do, however, is take away the memory of the fire itself. This is less serious if you and your family weren’t at home when it happened. If you were, then you need to take that trauma seriously. Your life was at risk, there was the fear and pain of the fire and smoke, and then having to watch the life you’ve built up or the only home you’ve ever known go up in flames can be horrific. Work with a therapist to help you process what happened, and especially find a child therapist to help your kids make sense of it all. Caring for your mental state is just as important as any physical recovery you may also need to go through. Once again, keep track of the costs, so that you can get compensated as well as you can in the future.

Image credit: Chris Karidis via Unsplash

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