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What Does My Home Insurance Cover in the Event of a Fire?

Jul 31, 2008
Fires can have devastating consequences for any family. Even if no loss of life or serious injuries are caused from the fire, you may still end up losing a large portion of your belongings and it may very well result in you becoming homeless. Thankfully, if you have home insurance, much of what you've lost should be covered.

Basics of Home Insurance

Generally, insurance providers divide home insurance coverage into two separate components: these being buildings and content. You need to look carefully at your policy because some companies combine both components while others sell each one separately. Never take for granted what your policy covers, always read the contract carefully.

If you have the buildings component of your home insurance, then your insurance should cover the repairing of your home's structure or it's rebuilding up to the total amount of your policy. That will also apply to other buildings or permanent fixtures on your property, such as swimming pools or garages. If these parts are damaged from the fire as well then those costs will usually be covered by this portion of your policy. Remember that only the structure of the garage will be covered - not anything that was inside.

With the content component, you will also be able to file a claim for the loss of anything you owned that was inside the house, including electronics, clothing, furniture, appliances, etc. This portion may also cover anything that was damaged in your garage, such as your car or lawn care equipment.

With both of these policies, the most important thing to remember is that no matter how great your losses the most you can recover will always be the maximum value of your policy. For example, if your home policy offers protection up to 100,000 then you can only receive monetary reimbursement in the amount of 100,000, even if you're out 300,000.

That's why it is always important to purchase the most insurance you can afford. Take an inventory of the value of your property and of the cost to rebuild your home in the event of a fire or other devastation. That should be the amount of coverage you purchase. Consider increasing your coverage every couple of years to account for inflation.

Other Coverage Issues

Of course, before the insurance will pay for any damages, you will have to go through the claims process which can sometimes be very intimidating. If the cause of the fire is easily identified and is clearly not your fault, then your process shouldn't take too long. Quotes will have to be acquired and you will probably be asked to provide documentation of the items you lost in the fire.

However, if there are any questions about the fire's cause, this could delay your claim. Make sure you have read your policy and know under which circumstances your policy does not have to pay. You don't want to find yourself receiving any unhappy surprises at this time in your life.

Additionally, you will be expected to cover the deductible outlined in your policy before any of your claims can be paid.
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For Fire Insurance Claims, he recommends Morgan Clark.
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