One of the most devastating things a homeowner can have happen to their home is damage, or an entire loss by fire, and rebuilding after a serious fire is an expensive, time-consuming process. Although all home insurance policies will cover at least some fire damage, the specifics of what will be covered and to what extent can differ greatly depending on the provider and the type of home insurance coverage purchased.
Many homeowners fear that any claim, no matter how small, will result in a large increase in their current home insurance rates as well as higher insurance quotes should they decide to move to another insurance provider. And while insurance industry as a whole hasn’t done much to allay those fears, it’s common knowledge that the industry maintains a database of claimants, it’s also true that irresponsible homeowners file false claims or repeatedly file claims for recurring natural disasters in their locale, such as flooding and hurricanes.
Fortunately, there are several steps a homeowner can take before and after a fire that may prevent his or her rates from increasing or the possibility of future higher insurance quotes.
Before a fire
- Purchase comprehensive home insurance Having a broad, comprehensive policy that covers as many possible scenarios involving damage and loss due to fire will facilitate the claims process and show your provider and potential future providers that you are a responsible homeowner.
- Install smoke detectors Installing smoke detectors is not only a smart thing to do regardless, doing so may result in a discount on your home insurance policy. If your provider knows that you have taken preventive measures to protect your home from loss from a fire, they will be less likely to suspect fraud.
- Document the value of all items in the home Maintain an accurate and detailed list of each item in your home and its respective value. Reimbursement for a claim can be distributed more quickly if your provider has a well-documented list of the items that were damaged or lost. By providing such a list, you again show that you are a responsible homeowner.
After a fire
- Be honest Yes, your provider will very likely challenge you on your claim. However, if you remain calm, yet firm, and have documentation that can back up your claim, you will be reimbursed in a timely fashion, and the cost of your premium might not increase.