Losing your home in a fire is devastating. Your ability to rebuild it will be determined by steps you take before the fire.

Take pictures, to document your home's features. Vince and Kathy Moccio did. Vince's computer melted during the fire, but he had his data backed up. Such pictures will help demonstrate what was there, and will also help guide the rebuilding. "They [the Moccios] documented everything," said Doug Tanner of Dovetail Renovation. "We had good info" to work with in creating new features that replicated the old.

Check your homeowners insurance policy, to make sure you're properly covered. Luckily, the Moccios were. "They [the insurance company] covered everything the way it was," said Vince, although the family paid for upgrades, such as the new kitchen. Tanner has worked with other clients who weren't so lucky. "People are underinsured to save money on premiums, and insure too low on value."