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A Guide To Fire Insurance Claims

Fire Claims, fire damage, fire incident, Insurance Claims

Fire Insurance Claims Can Be One Of The Most Expensive

Fire Insurance Claims can be one of the most expensive, according to the ABI, a staggering £1.3 billion was paid out to policyholders in 2018 for Fire Insurance Claim damage. The damage caused by fires, large and small, can be catastrophic.  The fire causes loss and damage from extreme heat, smoke, and the flames themselves.  The efforts to control and diminish the fire also cause further damage to property when rescue teams use extensive amounts of water and fire retardants to quench the fire. Fire Insurance Claims can be particularly tricky to navigate and manage.  Knowing what to expect when you file a Fire Insurance Claim, what you should look out for, common pitfalls, possible exclusions, and how to receive your full insurance entitlement is helpful and valuable.

What Is Included Under Fire Insurance Claim Damage?

The question we are often asked is 'What Is Included Under Fire Insurance Claim Damage?'. Your insurance should cover all damage to your property relating to the accidental fire.  This includes smoke damage, extreme heat damage from the fire itself, fire retardant damage, and water damage from the fire rescue effort. Smoke damage is far-reaching and difficult to assess due to its inconspicuous nature.  Even the smallest of fires can leave lasting and significant smoke damage.  The longer smoke damage goes untreated, the worse the damage can become.  It is essential to have smoke damage assessed by a professional.  If household members have compromised respiratory health, such as asthma or emphysema, smoke damage will exacerbate their health problems and cause acute illness.  Your insurance policy, including the assessment and replacement of smoke-damaged property, should cover smoke damage. Extreme heat will damage properties that the flames may not directly damage. The main structures of the property, such as the roof, structural steel, rendering, siding, and concrete, can all become destabilised from extreme heat. Windows can warp, discolour and lose clarity, and internal systems such as plumbing, heating and electrics can also be damaged from excessive heat.  Your insurance should cover the cost associated with all these fire-related damages. Damage caused by fire rescue efforts ought to also be covered by your insurance policy.  Fire rescue teams will use the best tools and equipment to quash the fire.  This is likely to include fire retardants and large quantities of water.  Both of which will cause further property damage.  The water will seep into systems, walls and timber, which can quickly develop mould.  All damage related to the fire, including fire rescue efforts, forms part of your Fire Insurance Claim damage.

What May Be Excluded From Fire Insurance Claims?

Knowing what may be excluded from fire Insurance Claims is just as important, so you can do your best to avoid disputes and rejected claims. The first important piece of information you need to know is that unoccupied properties will only be covered for Fire Insurance Claim damage if you have specific unoccupied insurance cover in place. Unoccupied properties are more likely to be damaged by arson or accidental fires. If you are away from your home for more than 30 days a year, you must let your insurer know so that they can factor this risk into your insurance premium. If you or any household member is a smoker, this must be stated on your insurance policy.  Ensure that your insurance documents have the correct information about smokers; these details can often be pre-filled with a default ‘no’ and remain unchecked unless you thoroughly assess all your policy's small print and conditions.  If you fail to provide the correct information, and a fire at your property is concluded to have begun by a cigarette, your claim will be void. Something else to remain vigilant about is your fire alarms.  Ensure your insurance cover includes the correct information about the number and type of fire alarms present within your property.  Again, this information may be pre-filled with a default option, and it is up to you to check the details are correct.  Likewise, your responsibility is to maintain your fire alarms' working order.  If you fail to match your fire alarm functionality on a regular basis, your insurance cover will be considered void since you did not keep your side of the insurance agreement; insurance policies include this as a standard condition of cover.

Common Pitfalls To Avoid With Fire Insurance Claims

Suffering fire damage at your property is highly distressing and stressful; it is good to know the common pitfalls to avoid with fire Insurance Claims.  It is easy to lose track of what you must do after such a devastating event.  But one thing your insurer will expect you to take responsibility for, however, the fire began, is mitigating the damage as much as possible.  This means securing your property as much as practical after the fire to prevent further damage from weather or intruders.  If you fail to secure and protect your home as much as possible after a fire, you will be held responsible for any further damage that happens as a result. Your insurer may try to minimise their costs by avoiding certain factors common to Fire Insurance Claims.  Be aware of issues such as mould damage and ‘matching’.  Mould can quickly and easily develop in your home following fire rescue efforts due to the copious amounts of water used to douse the flames.  Unless clean-up operations get underway promptly, further mould damage to your property can rapidly develop.  Your insurer may try to state that mould damage is excluded from your policy, especially if a mould exclusion clause is present.  However, if your insurer delays or fails to assist with clean-up measures promptly, they are responsible for mitigating damage, despite the exclusion. ‘Matching’ can also often cause disputes with Fire Insurance Claims.  This is particularly true in cases of partial loss.  If a fire has damaged parts of your home, your insurer may attempt to cover the cost of replacing only the damaged sections of your property.  Keep in mind your insurer has a responsibility to cover your property to its pre-loss condition, which includes consistency and matching.  Therefore, your insurer is liable to pay the fee to replace all property to a uniform and consistent standard.

Professionals Are Essential To Assess Fire Insurance Claims

No matter how large or small the fire in your property, contact professionals such as Oakleafe Claims.   Without the proper knowledge and expertise, you can easily underestimate the damage and suffer significant financial loss. This is paramount to acquiring your full settlement from your insurer. Take responsibility for obtaining the correct professional help for your Fire Insurance Claim.  Even if your insurer does the leg work contacting the contractors, check their credentials so that you have the best people to assess the fire damage.  Licensed, experienced professionals aside from Loss Adjusters, such as structural engineers and chartered surveyors, should be brought in to evaluate the extent of the fire damage.  They can assess damage that may not be obvious to someone without the relevant knowledge, such as the structural integrity of your property following a fire.  Certified hygienists can also be extremely helpful in identifying issues with air quality, mould, asbestos and smoke infiltration. Asking for advice and guidance about how best to pursue and process your Fire Insurance Claim is also essential for efficiently settling your fire damage claim.  Loss assessors such as Oakleafe Claims can offer impartial expert advice on the next steps and what to expect.  As independent experts in the field of insurance, we can also manage your claim on your behalf to relieve the heavy stress and burden of organising your Fire Insurance Claim.


Fires can be devastating, and the aftermath overwhelming.  Even the smallest fires can leave significant and lasting damage.  Partial damage to your property can cause problems when settling the extent of replacements and repairs.  Total loss causes substantial expense and time to restore.  To effectively manage your Fire Insurance Claim, you have to be aware of the inclusions, exclusions and pitfalls commonly associated with Fire Insurance Claims. This way, you can stay on top of negotiations and settlements with your insurer and ensure you receive a comprehensive figure to restore your property to its pre-loss condition.  An invaluable asset to your claim is the right professional expertise to move your fire damage claim forward in the right direction.  Their knowledge and advice will support your claim so that no fire damage remains hidden and you receive a comprehensive settlement.
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