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How to Handle Your Insurance Claim After a Home Fire

By Linda Krisko

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

Linda Krisko Insurance & Financial was founded in 1982 and is a 2nd generation business. Which began with the former, John Krisko. We are located at 1422 Hamilton st, Allentown, PA

The insurance and financial business is a primary foundation for the security of individuals, families and businesses. Our approach to meeting our client's needs is to provide them with a consultative approach and to build walls of protection around them. We have individual agents who specialize in a personal , financial, health and business insurance . Our Agency Team works together and pools our collective experience to best serve the needs of our clients. We are a Full service Property & Casualty including both Personal and Commercial lines of Insurance and a Nationwide Insurance Exclusive Agency. Since not all business will fit one company's appetite, we also have Brokerage Capacity for Non- Nationwide Business for all types of specialty personal lines and almost all lines of commercial insurance.

Additionally, we offer Group Health and Individual Health Insurance through our partners as Kressler Wolf and Miller ( KWM) to support our client base representing quality health insurance providers.

We offer Life & Financial Services through Nationwide Securities, LLC., Broker Dealer offering both fixed and variable products of life insurance both traditional and variable, annuities both fixed and variable, College Savings Funds including 529 plans, mutual funds, 401K's, Pensions and Profit Sharing Plans . Visit us at


What tips can you give to help people make sure they're properly insured before a potential fire?

One of the most important steps a property owner can take is to make certain that their building is insured properly. It is commonly referred to as having Insurance to value. Clients who wish to make sure that they can fully replace their buildings will want to have Replacement Cost Coverage for their buildings and the contents in them. There are situations where a building's replacement value far exceeds the market value of the property and there are alternate approaches that can be taken to properly insure them. The coverage form is also a critical element to the purchase of property insurance which will define what losses you are insured for. Special Form is the most inclusive form of coverage that you can purchase on a building and lists what is EXCLUDED as well as the most desirable coverage form to obtain. Professional agents will help you to establish what the replacement cost is on your building and can advise you of the options that you have to insure your building that best suit Your Situation. Periodic review are essential to making sure that your present insurance programs are reflective of your current needs. Improvements such as adding a deck or a sun room that the original insurance program did not take into consideration, can be added. Collectables, antiques, jewelry, silver,gold or pewter ware, manuscripts, fine arts, sporting equipment, cameras, technology devices are all classes of property that might need to specifically addressed and insured on an Inland Marine form of coverage. Typically, with inland marine coverage, both the client and the insurance company agree in advance what will be paid for a covered loss and such items are scheduled.

Is there something most people don't know about the claim process that they should know?

What comes to mind on this topic is how replacement cost coverage applies to personal property. Replacement cost coverage is designed to not only bring you back to a pre-loss condition but to help you overcome normal deductions for depreciation. Many times people are very upset and overwhelmed at the time of a loss and do not understand that the initial settlement that they will receive from an insurer for their personal property will be settled on an Actual Cash Value basis ( meaning that depreciation is deducted). However, once the insured can prove that they have replaced the item and submits appropriate proof, the balance of the difference between what it cost to replace the item and the depreciated settlement that they initially received will be sent to them. Why does the insurance industry do it this way you might ask? The industry has a responsibility not to encourage moral hazard (i.e. to create a condition that might encourage dishonesty) This practice would then prevent insured's from claiming a loss and receiving full replacement cost on items they really no longer had a use for.

Can you explain what a public adjuster is and how a public adjuster can help homeowners who have experienced a fire on their property?

Generally, a public adjuster is used when an insured and the claims department cannot agree on a settlement. Public adjusters typically will receive 10% of the value of the settlement which can be very costly to the insured. In most cases, this can be avoided by contacting your agent who can assist you in coming to an agreement with the claims department and their management.

What are the basic steps that homeowners should take after a fire, until their claim is settled?

Post loss it is also a policy condition that the insured secure their property from further loss. If there are areas of entry to the building that cannot be secured such as doors and windows due to the loss, they should be boarded up and secured as soon as possible. Undamaged items might also need to be relocated to a temporary storage area and secured. The claims settlement process can be tedious for both the client and the adjuster. An inventory list must be created and submitted in order to get the claims settlement process going so, having good records of major purchases are really helpful.

What regrets have you seen people have when it comes to making an insurance claim due to fire? What advice would you give to help other homeowners avoid this?

We always recommend to our clients that they take pictures of everything that they own. The adage "A picture paints a thousand words" could not be more true when it comes to remembering what you had. In cases where there is a total loss, many things might be unrecognizable. Another regret might be for the commercial property owner who did not consider ordinance or law coverage which can provide coverage for having to demolish the undamaged portion of a building and increased construction cost imposed by new local ordinances which prior to a loss the client might have be 'grandfathered" for.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

Call us at 610-433-5000 / Email us at or visit us at or simply stop by at 1422 W. Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA.

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