Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Victims of Arson in Florida?

Fire damage claims are not uncommon. In 2021 alone, the U.S. saw a staggering $44.2 million in fire insurance claims. Of course, like all homeowner’s insurance coverage, not every incident of fire will be covered by insurance.

For incidents that are covered, the amount of the damages could be affected by things like what caused the fire, whether safety measures were in place (e.g. smoke detectors, etc.), and what type of coverage your home insurance policy includes specifically. 

What About Arson?

As a general rule, arson is not covered by a home insurance policy. All insurance policies have an exclusion and explicit language regarding fires set intentionally, whether by the homeowner or another individual. If it is the property owner that starts the fire in an attempt for an insurance payout, that’s known as insurance fraud. 

Not only is insurance fraud illegal but it generally gets discovered before any claims are paid, so people who attempt it are left high and dry even with their best efforts. Today’s insurance adjusters and fire investigators have tools and technology that make it much easier to determine the cause and/or source of fires, reducing the likelihood of these incidents, but it still doesn’t stop some people from trying. 

What is Arson?

Arson is the criminal act of setting fire to property of some kind. If someone uses fire to intentionally damage personal property, a home, a vehicle, or even outdoor space, that can qualify as arson and be charged as a crime. The person committing the offense must have a “willful or deliberate intent” to set the fire. Unintentional fires, accidental fires, and spontaneous combustion are not arson. 

Why Isn’t Arson Covered in Florida?

The reason that insurance companies have the right to deny arson coverage is that it is considered a crime and therefore falls outside of “normal” coverage. Although it started with noble intentions, it leaves millions of homeowners in a lurch when they are dealing with extensive fire damage after an arson fire. There’s also the risk that the fire is deemed arson because no other cause can be found, which means the actual cause may never be known.

If there’s no identifiable cause, the insurance company will surely attempt to reject the claim, citing that they can’t properly allocate coverage for the event and or prove that it could have been caused by a covered incident. At this point, your only real recourse is to reach out to a public insurance adjuster and see if they can help you argue your claim or get some kind of compensation. 

What Should I Do Now?

If arson is suspected, your fire department will conduct a full investigation. You should contact your homeowner’s insurance company right away to report the damage and ask them to advise you of the next steps. If you’d rather someone do it for you, a public insurance adjuster can work with your insurer and help you sort out how to deal with the damages left behind after an arson fire. 

Make sure that you keep up with the investigation and keep the fire department and/or police on the case. It’s easy for small cases to get caught up in the daily shuffle, but if you persist, they will complete the investigation in a timely manner. If it is deemed that the fire was caused by arson, you should immediately reach out to your insurance company and let them know. 

Contact the experts at On Target Claims to assist with your homeowner’s insurance claims, including fire damage and potential arson cases. We can help you understand the claims process and fight for the rights (and compensation) that you deserve. 

The Leeway Loophole 

Although it’s been fervently stated that insurance companies generally will not cover arson damage, there is a chance that there may be some leeway. If it’s understood that the arson was caused by someone other than those who live in or own the property, the insurer may be willing to cover some damages or discuss a partial settlement. This is not always the case, which is why it’s so far down in the discussion. However, it doesn’t hurt to discuss the situation with your insurance company and see if there’s anything that they can do. This, again, is where it comes in handy to work with a public insurance adjuster. Not only do they know the laws in Florida regarding homeowner’s insurance and arson, but they know how to talk to insurance companies to get an outcome that works in your favor. 

What if it Wasn’t Arson?

There are some instances where insurance companies may try to accuse a homeowner of arson or claim that a fire was intentionally started. They may also cite willful neglect as the cause, in which case they again don’t have to pay. Ultimately, the insurance company is looking out for themselves first. Therefore, they’re going to do their best to pay as little as possible, which means trying to find a reason for denial. 

Maybe there’s a question of how the fire started and arson is on the list, but it’s not definitive yet. Again, insurance companies will balk here and wait to approve claims. This is why you need to take meticulous notes and keep up with the fire department’s investigation on your own. That way, you have the ammunition you need to fight back if you have a legitimate fire insurance claim

In the event that your fire damage was caused by a covered event and not arson, you should be able to file a claim and get compensation. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done. Reach out to the public insurance adjusters at On Target Claims and let us help you fight the insurance company for the settlement that you deserve. 

We’ll help you determine if you have a valid fire claim, how to prove the damage, and how to get the insurance company to pay your claim in a fair way. Plus, we can even help you better understand your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you don’t get taken advantage of in the future. A public insurance adjuster is your first line of defense against insurance companies that are only looking out for themselves. 

Contact On Target Claims Today 

If you have any kind of fire damage claim and you’re not sure what to do next, contact On Target Claims. Our experienced public insurance adjusters can review your claim and help you figure out the best course of action to take. We can help you negotiate with the insurance company and maximize your claim, no matter what kind of damage you may be dealing with. And if it’s an arson claim that they don’t want to pay, we can advise you of the next steps and stay with you until you’re fairly compensated for your losses, no matter what that takes. 

Call us today or schedule a consultation to discuss your fire claim or other homeowner’s insurance needs and let us help you get your home (and life) back. 

Fire and Arson Claim FAQs

What is a legitimate fire?

In the insurance world, they like words like “intentional” and “legitimate.” A legitimate fire is any fire that has a known cause that is considered a covered event on the insurance policy. For example, a shorted wire in the walls that causes a fire should be covered, but if you tried to install your own stove and started a fire, it might not be included. 

What if I’m accused of arson insurance fraud?

Some insurance companies like to jump the gun and start pointing fingers before they have all the facts. If you hear things like “fraud,” it can send you into a panic. Don’t let it. This is usually the insurance company trying to scare people or avoid paying a claim. If you did not set the fire and have nothing to hide, we can help you prove your case. 

Why don’t insurance companies cover arson damage?

Arson is a deliberate crime. It’s not something that’s “expected” or considered a “normal” part of owning a home. Therefore, insurance companies don’t want to cover the damages because they feel it’s something that can be prevented. Of course, you can’t stop someone from setting fire to your home– but that’s not important to them. What matters is that they can’t predict the risk of something like arson, so they don’t want to cover it. Plus, it could be attached to fraud in some cases, and then it’s definitely not covered. 

Should I still file an insurance claim for fire damage from arson?

If you have any damage to your home that was caused by events out of your control, you should immediately contact your insurance company and start documenting the damage and the incident. Even if the claim gets denied, having it on file proves that you did your due diligence in reporting the incident and trying to get coverage. This can help you later, too, if there’s a criminal investigation and information is needed. 

Can I dispute a denied claim?

You are always welcome to dispute a claim that you don’t think is fair or just. Of course, this can be difficult with some insurance companies, so it’s best to have a public insurance adjuster on your side if you intend to fight back against an arson or fire claim denial. 

Related Content: What is the Time Limit for Filing an Insurance Claim in Florida After Property Damage?

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