Fire damage is serious business, and it can be devastating. Of course, thanks to the nature of insurance, it can also become somewhat of a hassle to deal with if you aren’t prepared. After a fire, one of the first things that homeowners need to do is call their insurance company and let them know about the incident. They will then send out an adjuster to check out the state of the property, get the report from the fire department, and collect the facts so that they can determine how and how much to pay for your claim.
Fire damage is generally covered by insurance, so long as it can be proven that the cause of the fire was not something that the homeowners did or could have prevented. For example, if there is a wiring short that causes a fire and the home was recently renovated, they may question whether wiring work was done so that they can determine where the cause is rooted. If it turns out someone tried to handle their own electrical work and didn’t call an electrician, the insurance company might fight the claim or reduce how much they pay. Sometimes a property owner may need the help of an attorney to assist with their fire damage claim.
Other Insurance Insights
When you’re dealing with fire damage and insurance, keep the following things in mind:
- Fire protection is included in your home insurance policy. It will include coverage for personal property, the dwelling or structure, loss of use, and personal liability. This means that if you’re put out of your home for six months while repairs are being done, your insurance policy should pay to house you in a comparable property for the duration, for example.
- Intentional fires aren’t covered on insurance. Even in some cases where you didn’t deliberately set the fire, willful neglect or negligence could also be considered “intentional”, so be sure to talk to your insurance company about the details.
- Areas prone to wildfires may not have as many options for home insurance or fire protection, or it may be quite a bit more expensive than in other regions. That doesn’t mean you should forego the coverage, however.
- Don’t touch, move, or disturb anything until the fire department has cleared the scene and the insurance adjuster has done their work. If you do, you risk causing more damage or losing out on part of your claim because you disturbed the original state of things.
There’s also a difference in your policy between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Value, which often confuses some people. This just means that while the house may only appraise at a certain price, it could cost far more to replace or rebuild in the current economy with the rate of inflation. Insurance companies will pay claims at replacement value if your policy is set up properly.
Preparation can go a long way in helping you deal with fire damage and insurance issues. Fortunately, most insurance companies are understanding and helpful during this time, too, and you’ll probably also have the expert assistance of a fire restoration company on your side (or you should).