After experiencing a fire loss, one of the biggest questions on homeowners’ minds is ‘what does insurance cover after a fire?’ To answer this question fully, you’ll have to understand which type of homeowners insurance coverage you have. If you have replacement cost coverage, your insurance policy will cover the cost to repair or replace any damage to put you in the same position you were in before the loss. If you have actual cash value coverage, your policy will pay for the cost of any repair or replacement required, less depreciation.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover After a Fire?
Below, we take a look at commonly covered items and costs when homeowners encounter a home fire resulting in a total or partial loss.
Debris and Removal
If you experience a total loss in the event of a house fire, there will be substantial debris that will require removal. The cost of debris removal is covered under your policy. If you experience a partial loss and emergency work is required to avoid further loss or damage to the home, your insurance company will cover the cost of the emergency work such as tarping off the roof, boarding up windows, etc.
Additional Living Expenses
Many worry about additional living expenses incurred after a fire. If you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired or rebuilt, where do you go and at who’s expense? Your homeowner’s insurance policy has a section called ‘loss of use’ that covers additional living expenses incurred as a result of the loss. This section will cover expenses such as living accommodations: hotel, motel, apartment rental, etc. If you’re forced to live in a hotel in the interim, your policy will cover meal expenses as well. Replacement of items needed such as toothbrushes, clothing, etc. are also covered under this section. Anything you need to purchase as a direct result of the loss will be covered under this section. Of course, all receipts will need to be kept, and common sense will need to be used. If you purchase a designer suit to replace your blazer and slacks worn to work, you’ll have to pay the difference in price.
Replacement of Personal Property
With the replacement of your actual home comes the repair or replacement of your personal belongings. Anything that was damaged or destroyed due to the fire will be repaired or replaced under the personal property section of your policy. Receipts will need to be kept and submitted as part of the claim. Cleaning or repairing items that incurred smoke damage but can be restored to its former state will also be covered under the policy.
In short, any cost you must incur as a result of the loss should be covered under your policy. It’s always best to speak with your insurance agent or broker directly to fully understand your policy and its coverages before a loss is incurred. Otherwise, you may not be adequately covered. It is also important to choose coverage options wisely; replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage are very different and can result in two very different experiences in the event of an insurance claim. To ensure your home is protected correctly, check out the Douglas Residential Cost Guide today to calculate your home’s replacement cost.