A house fire is a serious event, even when it’s small. A total loss can be catastrophic, but most homeowners have insurance that will take care of all of the expenses. Or do they? A lot of homeowners don’t understand the details of their policy or what it covers. Most importantly, there are some who don’t realize that fire damage insurance won’t cover every single type of house fire. Fire damaged homes are typically large claims. So naturally the type, intent and cause of fire will be important factors when considering the claim.
For the most part, homeowners’ insurance will cover fire damage, so long as the fire was not deliberately set. Of course, you have to be careful because there are some instances where neglect on your part could be considered ‘willful’ and result in a refusal to pay or only partial coverage. We’ve all seen it on TV and in the movies—you can’t burn down your home for the insurance money. If there’s any finding of malicious intent behind the cause of the fire, not only will the claim not pay, but you could be in trouble with the law.
Grease fires, candle fires, furnace fires, and other house fires are often covered by fire insurance claims. Most of these are considered accidents, after all, and so long as there are no discoveries that point to the fire being preventable, the insurance company should take care of everything. There are several types of fire that may be further investigated, such as electrical fires (because if wiring wasn’t up to code or it wasn’t done by a certified electrician, that could be the homeowner’s fault, for example) and HVAC or other home system fires.
Actual Value vs Replacement Cost
The other big thing that people get mixed up with their fire damage insurance claim is the difference between actual value and replacement cost. That basically just means that you can’t buy the same items in today’s money for the same price and quality that you got years ago. If your 5-year-old TV was ruined in the fire, even if it’s only worth $50 today, the insurance company will pay you enough so that you can go out and purchase a comparable TV in today’s market.
If you are ever unsure about where you need more coverage, check on your replacement cost coverage. You can often increase the limit for just a few dollars a month and ensure that you’ll have the money you need to replace items after a fire.
Work with the Experts
Even though your insurance company should be helpful in giving you the support and assistance that you need, they’re not the only ones you will need. Plus, they’re also looking out for themselves first so that they don’t have to pay more than necessary. Work with a trained, experienced fire damage restoration team and let them handle all the details and help you figure out where to go from here to get your home back.