Is Fire Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance in Florida?

Florida’s diverse communities and vibrant landscape are far from immune to the destruction of fire damage. As a homeowner caught in the aftermath of a fire, you may have questions about Homeowners Insurance coverage. In a location with tropical landscapes and lots of sun, understanding what fire damage is and how it is impacted by homeowners insurance is a must.

A house fire can be a very damaging experience, emotionally, physically, and financially. If you’ve experienced a residential fire in Florida, your next steps include filing a homeowners Insurance claim to get the coverage you’ve opted into and repair or replace your home. However, you must understand whether fire damage is covered by homeowners insurance in Florida and what, if any, the stipulations are regarding coverage. 

What Does Fire Insurance Cover in Florida?

In most cases, home insurance in Florida covers fire damage to your home. In this state, home insurance combines liability and property insurance to pay for damage caused by a fire. Dwelling insurance will pay to rebuild or repair the structure itself. Personal property coverage will pay to replace personal belongings that were lost or damaged in the home fire. 

Florida homeowners insurance will cover fire damage as long as the fire is deemed accidental. While having home insurance isn’t mandatory in Florida, house fires caused by wildfires and accidents are relatively common in the state, so it’s a good idea to have the coverage in place. 

In general, your home insurance will cover the below costs related to a fire:

  • The cost of rebuilding your business or home
  • Repairing water and smoke damage
  • The cost of relocation while repairs take place
  • Replacing personal property
  • Replacing the items in the building 
  • Any structural repairs
  • Repairing landscaping or the grounds
  • Repairing or replacing outdoor structures like detached garages or sheds

Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Fire Claims in Florida?

Even if you have homeowners insurance in place to cover fire damage, there are situations where your insurance company will try to deny your claim. Sometimes the reason they give is valid, but other times, it isn’t. 

Here’s a list of common reasons for house fire insurance claim denials in Florida:

  • Your home is underinsured.
  • There isn’t enough evidence to support the payout. 
  • Proper documentation isn’t provided.
  • Arson (a fire that was set intentionally) occurred. 
  • Illegal activity or fraud happened.
  • Unpermitted work was happening on the property, even if it wasn’t directly connected to the fire. 
  • Damage values were inflated in hopes of a larger payout. 
  • Policy exclusions limit the coverage provided.
  • An unpaid policy premium caused coverage to lapse.
  • The home wasn’t lived in at the time of the fire. 

However, remember that every insurance policy is unique. You should be sure you understand yours to get a better idea of what might cause an issue when it comes to initiating a claim. If you can’t understand the wording of the policy, a public claims adjuster can assist you.

A Note About Fires in Vacant Homes

Typically, your insurance company will not provide coverage for a fire that happens in a home that wasn’t being lived in at the time of the incident. However, a “vacant” home can be defined in different ways. The most common definition is a home with no one living in it for the past 30 days. If you can’t prove someone has lived in your home during the last month leading up to the fire, you may not get insurance coverage. 

However, insurance providers recognize that many Flordia residents live in the state part-time. Your insurance company likely provides home insurance policies specifically for vacant homes if this applies to you. It’s essential to ensure you have proper insurance coverage against fires whether you live in your home year-round or only during certain seasons. 

What Can Affect Your Fire Damage Insurance Claim in Florida?

If you don’t take the right precautions to ensure you’re getting paid what you should, your insurance claim can be mishandled, which can cause unnecessary denials or underpayments. It’s important to know the red flags to watch for that your insurance company isn’t handling your fire claim as well as they should. 

Common red flags that can affect your claim include the following:

  • A slow claim investigation 
  • Lack of response to communications 
  • Undervaluing any property damage 
  • Investigation delays
  • Failure to offer an understandable explanation for denying your claim
  • Payment delays from your insurance provider
  • Refusing to investigate specific portions of your claim 
  • Ignoring any provided evidence of property damage 
  • Providing misleading or false information about either your claim or the coverage you have

All of these things are common, especially for those who are going through the claims process alone. Having a professional to help you can ensure you don’t miss anything important. It’s well worth it to get the settlement you deserve. 

How Florida Public Claims Adjusters Can Help After Florida Fire Damage

Having a professional in your corner is a great way to start the claims process after fire damage. Choosing a public adjuster licensed in Florida is often the best way to move forward. For one thing, a public adjuster is capable of doing a comprehensive assessment of the fire damage. That information can then be used in the claims process. Their expertise may uncover additional damages you may have overlooked in earlier stages of the process.

In addition, you can view your chosen certified public adjuster (CPA) as an advocate for your needs and rights. This professional will negotiate with insurance companies to get the settlement you deserve. Their understanding of insurance policies and negotiating ability are invaluable to achieving the best possible outcome for your claim.

On top of that, a certified public adjuster will handle the claims process from start to finish. This can give you extra time to handle other aspects of the aftermath of a fire. Your CPA will take some things off your plate while ensuring you get the best results when the claim process is over. This is possible due to their knowledge of the most complicated aspects of insurance claims.

Reasons to Hire a Public Adjuster for Florida Fire Damage

Not everyone will feel the need to hire a public adjuster based on fire damage, but they can be useful for various reasons. For instance, public adjusters can streamline the entire claims process, which can speed things up. Their expertise can expedite the assessment, negotiation, and settlement processes. This is very useful if you’re a homeowner who wants to start restoration quickly rather than waiting.

Beyond that, public adjusters who specialize in fire claims have extra knowledge and experience to offer you. They know how fire damage assessments go and can provide you with peace of mind as they help you navigate the claims process to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. They offer answers to all your questions and a map of how things will look moving forward.

Finally, public adjusters are thorough in the entire claims process, which means all damage is documented and then accounted for. Having attention to detail and a full understanding of the process is ideal for getting the highest possible settlement for your fire damage claim.

Tips for Filing a Fire Insurance Claim in Florida

You may find yourself feeling very overwhelmed after a fire, but there are several steps you can take to speed up the claims process and give yourself the best chances of a prompt and fair resolution to the issue.

  • Timely Reporting: It’s essential to inform your insurance company of the fire quickly. Delaying this process can make the claims process more complicated. In the worst case, it might impact your coverage options.
  • Thorough Documentation: As meticulously as possible, make sure you document the extent of the fire damage. Take videos, photographs, and notes that detail all the affected items and locations. Documentation is essential as evidence during the claims process.
  • Avoid Additional Damage: Take any needed steps to prevent additional damage. This might include covering up exposed areas, boarding up windows, or other tasks. Make sure you note all the temporary repairs you make.
  • Make a List of Belongings: Build a detailed inventory of items that were destroyed or damaged in the fire, along with a list of items, including descriptions, dates of purchase, and the estimated replacement costs. An inventory will help aid the valuation of your property during the claims process.
  • Document Communication: When you speak with your adjuster, insurance company, and other relevant people, make sure to document those conversations. This includes phone calls, letters, and emails. Being organized is an essential part of creating a smooth claims process.

Choose a Public Insurance Adjuster from On Target Claims

Fire damage can be a complex issue. The flames can cause physical damage, but issues may go beyond that. Fire can cause extreme damage to the home, items within it, and other assets. Smoke damage can contribute to the problem and affect the space by ruining possessions and causing other problems. Awareness of the issues and negotiating with the insurance company is necessary to get the compensation you deserve.

It might seem like you must go with what your insurance company decides, but that isn’t true. When you work with the professionals at On Target Claims, you have other options. We have decades of experience helping people just like you in southeastern Florida. We’d love to build a relationship and help you through the process of filing a claim to restore your residence or business. If you’re ready to get started on the path to the future, reach out to us for a free claim review. 

Related Content: What Happens When Insurance Denies a Claim in Florida?

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