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Fire Damage Claim

What Does My Fire Damage Insurance Cover?

Whether or not your Fire Damage insurance policy covers smoke and fire damage depends on your policy’s specific terms. It’s essential to understand what these terms mean before purchasing a policy and before you file an insurance claim. That’s why you should always consult with an experienced insurance attorney. First, you need to understand the various levels of fire damage that can occur with a fire.

  • The Florida house, condo, apartment or business burns to the ground.
  • A smokey fire is isolated to a single area of a room, creating extensive smoke damage throughout a home or business.
  • A fire consumes an entire room, office, or storage area resulting in extensive smoke and fire damage to the structure and its contents.
  • A fire starts in a neighboring home, apartment, or business and spreads to your property, causing fire and smoke damage to the exterior of your unit, home, or building.

Now, let’s look at the types of damage from a fire. The visual damage is readily apparent. Your home and belongings might be charred, blackened, or in ashes. But there are secondary, sometimes less visible, effects that can be just as damaging. Two examples are:

  • Smoke damage — The smell of smoke can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, the smell can be difficult to get rid of, and you might be tempted to dump your belongings, but don’t do so before the extent of the damage has been thoroughly documented.
  • Water damage — This type of damage might not be the first thing that comes to mind when your house catches on fire, but since firefighters will use water to extinguish the flames, your house and belongings are at risk of sustaining water damage. Also, if the structural damage is such that the inside of your home is now exposed to the elements, you risk water damage caused by rain.

What Caused the Fire?

The first question that your insurance company will want the answer to what caused the fire?

Read the terms of your policy carefully and determine which causes your insurance provider covers. For example, insurers typically exclude fire and smoke damage caused by arson, when someone intentionally starts a fire. The goal is to prevent people from deliberately setting fires to collect insurance benefits.

What Type of Damage Is Covered Under Your Policy?

If your policy covers the fire’s cause, the next question is whether the actual damage is covered. You likely have dwelling coverage for damage to the structural integrity of your home. You probably also have coverage for personal property like electronics, art, and jewelry. But does your policy also include coverage for detached structures like sheds and garages? Additionally, what about the “loss of use” provision that pays for your family to stay in a hotel while the damage is being repaired?

Even if your policy provides dwelling, personal property, other structure, and loss of use coverage, be aware of its limits. It’s possible that the damage goes beyond your policy’s limits, meaning that you could be on the hook financially.

Injuries from serious fires can range from a small burn or mild smoke inhalation to first-degree burns, serious lung damage, disability or even death. Do we need this?

Before filing your fire and smoke damage claim, contact the experts at ILG.

At the Insurance Litigation Group, we will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and the insurance claims process. We will take the time to thoroughly analyze your policy to determine the scope of coverage for fire, smoke and water. We will then work diligently to resolve any coverage dispute and aggressively litigate issues of liability and damages to achieve an expeditious payment of benefits owed.

What if My Fire Damage Claim Was Denied?

If you believe your insurance company has wrongfully denied, Call ILG for sound advice and effective representation in Florida Insurance Dispute. We may be able to help you take the next step. 

Don’t let your insurance company give you the run-around when your family or Florida business has experienced a fire. They try to make the insurance claim more complicated than it is and deny, delay or underpay your claim. Our practice is statewide, and we have offices in Miami, Fort Pierce, and Miramar Beach, Florida.

 

Fire Damage Statistics: What You Need to Know

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/, in 2018, there were 1.3 million fires in the United States of which 15, 200 were injured and 3,655 lost their lives.  Dollar losses from fires that year were $25.6 billion.

Thirteen summaries describing trends in U.S. residential fires. Included are summaries for deaths, injuries, dollar loss, and leading residential fire causes.

Residential building fire causes in 2018

379,600 fires (estimated)

  • 50.7% Cooking
  • 9.4% Heating
  • 7.5% Unintentional, careless
  • 6.8% Electrical malfunction

Causes of fatal residential building fires in 2018
2,000 fatal fires (estimated)

Chart
  • Unintentional, careless:19.6%
  • Smoking:14.6%
  • Under investigation:13.9%
  • Intentional:9.6%
  • Electrical malfunction:9.0%
  • All other causes:33.3%
  • Electrical malfunction cause:9.0%

Causes of residential building fires resulting in injuries in 2018
7,500 fires resulting in injuries (estimated)

  • Cooking:29.5%
  • Unintentional careless:12.8%
  • Open flame:8.4%
  • Electrical malfunction:6.7%
  • All other causes:36.4%
  • Unintentional careless cause:12.8%

Nonresidential fires

Fire estimate summaries of nonresidential buildings, fire trends and causes (2009-2018) PDF 1.3 MB

Nine summaries describing trends in U.S. nonresidential fires. Included are summaries for number of fires, dollar loss and leading nonresidential fire causes.

Nonresidential building fire causes in 2018 103,600 fires (estimated)

Cooking30.6%
Unintentional, careless11.5%
Intentional9.8%
Electrical malfunction7.8%
Heating6.9%
Open flame5.7%
Other heat5.3%
Other equipment4.7%
Equipment malfunction3.8%
Appliances3.5%
Exposure3.4%
Natural3.2%
Smoking2.1%
Cause under investigation1.5%
Playing with heat source0.3%

Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.

show all fire causes +

Causes of vehicle and outside fires

Causes of vehicle fires
212,500 vehicle fires in 2018

Chart
  • Pie chart with 6 slices.
  • Unintentional:38.9%
  • Undetermined:23.6%
  • Equipment failure:20.1%
  • Under investigation:10.2%
  • Intentional:4.4%
  • Other:2.8%

End of interactive chart.

Causes of outside fires
509,500 outside fires in 2018

Chart

Pie chart with 6 slices.

Unintentional:42.9%Undetermined:25.6%Intentional:17.8%Under investigation:5.0%Act of nature:4.5%

End of interactive chart.

Where do fires occur?

Read our reports on where fires occur.

Property types

Residential is the leading property type for fire deaths (75.0%), fire injuries (77.1%) and fire dollar loss (43.3%).

Fires by general property type (2018)

  • 30.0% Residential
  • 9.0% Nonresidential
  • 14.8% Vehicle
  • 40.6% Outside
  • 5.5% Other
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