Guide to House Fire Insurance Claims

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Just like any other accident, fire breakouts are common and unexpected. Not only do they cause physical damage, but also a great deal of financial havoc. In the worst-case scenario, a house fire can make you homeless and bankrupt at the same time. That’s why it’s crucial that homeowners in British Columbia have adequate fire insurance. 

Undoubtedly, fire causes significant damage to property and valuable items, including life hazards. However, having fire insurance helps you get coverage for all such damages and saves your hard-earned money.

Speaking of which, if you do not have home insurance yet or are thinking about shopping around, you can find BC home insurance providers and compare competitive quotes by clicking the link.

Step by step guide to making fire insurance claims

Here’s a step-by-step guide for you to make house fire insurance claims the right way.

Notify the insurance company

Informing the insurance company should be a priority once you experience a house fire. Even if it’s not in the working hours, there must be a 24/7 helpline you can always report to. The faster you report, the faster your issue is considered and processed. The company would first enquire into the time and cause of the incident. Thus, make sure you are aware of the parameters.

Secure the property

Once the fire has been taken care of, it’s your responsibility to secure the property till the insurance agent arrives. Do not let anyone else on the property before it is assessed by an insurance official. Doing so may lead to the reduction or rejection of your claim. Ensure that no further damage is caused to the property.

Find temporary accommodation

Once you have secured the property and notified the insurance company, it’s time to find temporary accommodation for yourself. Whether the fire damage is minimal or significant, it’s in no way safe to stay inside the damaged accommodation. 

Meet the loss adjuster

Most insurance companies don’t want to provide the whole cover. If you want full coverage, it won’t come easy. Once you meet the loss adjuster, you’ll have to convince them about your situation. Also, ensure you acquire ample proof to convince them for the full coverage.

Appoint emergency contractors

Once you’ve settled the losses with the adjuster, it’s time to make your home ready to move in. Appoint contractors and start the renovation on priority. The faster your house is ready to move in, the more you can save on the extra accommodation cost. 

However, make sure that the insurance policy would only pay to “bring the property in its previous condition”. If you undertake extravagant renovations, the insurance company will not cover the entire cost.

Claim for emergency accommodation

Depending on the damage done to your property, it can take a month or two to get it ready. You certainly can’t go on paying for the extra accommodation from your pocket. You can claim the extra accommodation charges by furnishing the appropriate receipts. 

Most insurance companies have an accommodation sub-limit. Talk to your agent regarding the compensation provided and book your accommodation accordingly. You do not want to end up in an expensive hotel that isn’t liable to be covered in the policy.

Keep updating the agent

You’ll be assigned an agent by the insurance company as soon as you register your claim. You must keep your agent informed about the repairs and maintain a record. It will help you get coverage easily without going into a brawl with the company.

Settle final claim

Once your home is ready to move in, it’s time to settle the final claim with the insurance company. Submit the final bills and the documents and get the insurance company’s approval. Once the approval is given, you’re good to move back in.

Reasons your house fire claim can be rejected

Though it might seem easy and smooth to avail of fire insurance coverage, there are certain reasons why your claim can be rejected. They are:

Natural wear and tear

If the fire accident has been caused due to degenerative condition of the house, i.e., the natural wear and tear, the insurance company will not be liable for any coverage. Thus, make sure you undertake timely maintenance of the property.

Construction cracks

Mostly, newer foundations acquire cracks due to unequal load distribution. If the fire has been caused due to any such reason, the insurance company will deny the claim.

Electrical breakdown

There can be fire due to an electrical breakdown, like mishandling the wires or overpower usage. These incidents count as negligence and would not be covered by the insurance provider; however, short circuit claims are approved.

Improper plumbing

As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to care for the plumbing. If any fire breaks out due to pipe leakage or similar reason, then it’s not the responsibility of the insurance company to cover for it.

Missing premium payments

As the insurer, you need to pay your premiums on time. If you miss premiums, fines and extra charges might be applicable. In other cases, on missing consecutive premiums, your insurance can be permanently terminated as well.

Tips for making a home fire damage insurance claims

Now that you know why your claim might be rejected, here are some tips for you to file fire damage house insurance claims better.

  • Reach out to the insurance company promptly.
  • Read terms and conditions before reaching out.
  • Document all the damages for a better claim.
  • Avoid further loss after the damage.
  • Convince the insurer with valid proof.

Conclusion

Having fire insurance is always a justified decision because you never know when you’ll fall prey to accidents. With insurance, there’s no way you’ll have to go bankrupt to protect your accommodation. However, consider these guides and tips as getting a claim can sometimes get tricky.  It is best to talk to an insurance expert who can guide you through the entire claims process. 

Also, different insurance providers might have different approaches to assessing the loss. Make sure you consider the opinion of an independent third party before settling on a compensation amount.