Skip to Main Content

Start Of Main Content

What to do after a house fire

These four steps can help you and your family recover.

After suffering a house fire, it might be difficult to determine what to do next. These steps will help you get back on your feet.

  1. Find a safe place to stay. No matter the amount of damage, you likely can't stay in your own home. If staying with friends or family isn't an option, talk to your local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. These organizations will help you find a safe place to stay temporarily.
  2. Contact your insurance agent. You'll need to start a claim and address your immediate needs. "Loss of use" funds from your insurance policy will cover living and other daily expenses. If you receive these funds or an advance on your claim, save all receipts and keep a detailed record of all purchases. Your insurance agent should also be able to help you secure your property and offer recommendations for cleaning up or restoring salvageable items.
  3. Address your finances. You'll still need to make mortgage payments — even if your home is destroyed. Your insurance policy, which should cover your home's value and mortgage, will make payments to you and your mortgage lender. Remember: Pay the bank first and put leftover funds toward rebuilding or purchasing a new home. You'll also need to continue any car payments and replace any credit or debit cards that may have been destroyed in the house fire.
  4. Recover your possessions. Items destroyed in a house fire are usually covered by insurance. Typically, the homeowners policy is a replacement cost policy. When a loss occurs, you will receive the actual cash value of your damaged items at the time of settlement and may recover the replacement cost once the items have been replaced. To help ensure everything is accounted for, keep an inventory of your possessions. This inventory should include the date of purchase, cost at purchase and description of each item, wherever possible.

Before you find yourself dealing with a loss, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your insurance policy and its coverages. You can understand ahead of time what will be taken care of if a loss occurs — and what your responsibilities are.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.


Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

You Get What You Give

You Get What You Give

Be the change you want to see in your new community.

Extension Cord Safety: What to Do and What to Avoid

Extension Cord Safety: What to Do and What to Avoid

When using extension cords, prevent them from becoming potential fire hazards.

Related Articles

Smoke Detector Placement and Safety

Smoke Detector Placement and Safety

You're going to need more than one and there are different types, so read this.

Help Prevent Electrical Fires at Home

Help Prevent Electrical Fires at Home

It pays to have a fire inspector come in, plus additional safety actions you can take.

Hidden Home Fire Hazards and How to Eliminate Them

Hidden Home Fire Hazards and How to Eliminate Them

Most house fires are preventable, so take a minute to learn these less obvious causes.