Fire Aftermath: Will Insurance Cover Smoke Damage?

Even a small fire may yield considerable amounts of smoke. This results in unsightly stains and strong odors. Prolonged exposure could seriously harm your health. Soot is difficult to remove, so professional cleaning often proves necessary. Fortunately, insurance companies pay for cleaning and repairs in most situations.

Renters

If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord probably insures the building. The insurance company will pay for repairs to items and structures that the landlord owns. It may cover walls, ceilings, carpets and appliances. However, you’ll be responsible for replacing or fixing all personal possessions.

People with renters insurance usually qualify for compensation when smoke damages their belongings. It covers furniture, electronics, clothing, rugs and similar items. The insurer may also reimburse you for restaurant meals and a motel room if you can’t safely stay in your home.

Homeowners

Nearly all Indiana home insurance policies cover smoke damage. Mobile home insurance usually pays for restoration services as well. However, many insurers subtract deductibles which may be as high as several hundred dollars. This means that you may have to pay for a portion of the costs of professional cleaning and repairs.

Most home insurance policies don’t cover soot removal in unoccupied dwellings. Depending on the specific company, a house is considered vacant after all residents leave for one or two months. So, homeowners need to notify their insurers and pay for vacant home coverage. Insurance companies require special policies because unoccupied buildings are more likely to suffer damage.

Commercial

Business owners with property insurance normally qualify for compensation when smoke damage occurs. These policies pay for repairs to furniture, uniforms, equipment, supplies, and other assets. If you own a building, the insurer will also cover structural components like ceilings and walls.

Many Indiana business owners rent their stores or offices. In this situation, the landlord’s insurer is responsible for fixing most damage to the building. A business operator still needs to insure his or her equipment. If a landlord fails to repair a commercial building, tenants generally have the right to cancel their leases and move elsewhere.

Exclusions

Most home, renters and business policies exclude certain kinds of smoke damage. Many insurers reject such claims when industrial facilities or agricultural smudging produce soot. There’s a chance this could happen if you live near an orchard or factory. Furthermore, these policies typically don’t cover damage triggered by arson.

After a fire occurs, remember to board up any broken windows and document all related expenses. File an insurance claim as soon as possible for the best results. The smoke damage remediation experts at Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling can help. We thoroughly remove all traces of soot and work with insurers to maximize compensation. To learn more about our services, visit our website today.