Putting the Focus Back on Your Emotional Recovery After a Fire

house fire

One of the less talked about aspects of the fire insurance claims process is the emotional recovery people go through after a loss like this. As important as your insurance claim is, there’s more to the story than just money. A residential fire is a major loss for you and your family, and you shouldn’t downplay the emotional toll that the experience can take. You’ve been through a difficult experience, and it’s important to acknowledge that it will your family will take time to adjust. Don’t underestimate the stress you’re under, even as you turn your attention to your fire insurance claim.

The Emotional Toll of Residential Fires

Your home isn’t just a place to stay. It provides a sense of safety, comfort, and familiarity. It’s a place where memories are made with loved ones. You lose that sense of security and comfort when a fire damages your home. Being displaced disrupts your daily life and makes it harder to focus on work, school, and your relationships.

Often family members who take it hardest are elderly. The claims process can also be much more challenging for family members who may not speak English or speak English as a second language. It can be very difficult for them to deal with communications and paperwork from the Insurer and understand their obligations throughout the claims process.

There is a lot to worry about as you start planning your finances, finding a place to live, getting back to work, and dealing with the Insurer. There is a lot of pressure to meet benchmarks in the rebuilding process before more funds are released, and you will be busy dealing with contractors, the adjuster, and more. It is easy to forget that you will need time to take care of yourself and your family.

Traumatic events such as evacuating a fire can have serious mental health consequences both immediately afterward, and that emerge years later. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD have been documented in survivors, and we’ve seen clients suffer stress-induced heart attacks. Now is a time to look after your wealth and mental well-being.

Residential Fires Can Put Pressure on Relationships

Everyone in your family is working through a difficult loss, and emotions may be running high. Relationships can become strained during this period. Sometimes couples wind up going through a divorce in the aftermath of a fire because of the added stress.

Consider the impact that evacuation and displacement can have on kids. Children can develop issues around displacement because they lose the sense of security that home offered them. Even as you replace lost belongings, they don’t have their stuff. They may have lost stuffed animals or other comfort items, and they are going to feel upset by the loss.

The last year in particular has been difficult for families displaced after a house fire, as the pandemic and lockdowns have made life even more stressful and unfamiliar. Under normal circumstances, you may be staying in temporary accommodations like a condo or apartment, but you can still get out and get around. There’s still a sense of familiarity in your community, like favourite restaurants and recreational activities, and you can spend time with extended family and friends. So much of that has been lost during the pandemic, and families have been cooped up, sometimes in smaller spaces than they are used to, while work is being done on their homes.

It’s important not to downplay these pressures. Life is going to require a big adjustment for the next year or longer, and things may never be exactly the same.

Balancing Your Emotional Recovery with Your Insurance Claim

Clients often tell us that filing their fire insurance claim feels like a full-time job. Families have to deal with a number of obligations, including complex legal paperwork and keeping to a rebuilding schedule at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable. The claims process can take up a great deal of time, sometimes upward of two years.

You can wind up feeling pressured to rush to accept a settlement just because you want the process to be over. It’s normal to feel stressed and just want the whole thing to be over. However, rushing into an agreement can leave your recovery process underfunded.

We have a number of resources you can use to get started on your claim that can help you understand the process and what to avoid. Most importantly, we can alleviate some of the stress that you’re going through. Virani Law becomes your expert, and we take care of your claim while you take care of your emotional recovery. We focus on getting you a fair offer from the insurance company while you look after your family’s well-being.

We help you understand insurance terms, the legal language of the paperwork you have to complete and sign, and the coverage in your insurance policy. We push back against the Insurer and adjuster when you feel like you aren’t receiving a fair deal and negotiate your claim on your behalf.

Get Support with Your Claim

We understand what you’re going through because I’ve been through it as well. In 2014, my family’s home in Guelph was devastated by fire. It took one life and left four family members in the hospital. Not only was the home destroyed, but it soon became clear that they didn’t have the support they needed. I spent the next year dealing with the insurance company and negotiating my family’s claim. My personal story and the experience my family went through after a fire led me to help families going through their own loss.

Adjusters and insurers sometimes become numb to the emotional reality families experience. They deal with insurance claims all day, every day, and they may lose sight of the fact that your family is going through a tough time. They don’t necessarily know what it’s like not being able to celebrate birthdays and holidays at home. They’re just busy doing their jobs.

Not finding the empathy and support you would hope for at such a trying time can make the process feel that much tougher. We have seen cases in which a client wants to change something about their home during the rebuild because it reminds them of the fire or sparks their anxiety. For example, they may not want to put a fireplace back in due to post-traumatic stress. While the adjuster or Insurer may be reluctant to approve any changes, we help them see the human side of these requests and provide the support families need when they don’t have it in them to fight for themselves.

You don’t have to accept a rushed settlement or let the Insurer ignore your requests just to get it over with. We take care of your claim while you put the focus back on your family’s emotional recovery.