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Home fire insurance

How to insure your home against fire damage

Buildings insurance and contents insurance offer vital protection if there’s a fire at your home

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 17 September 2020

Detached house

Looking for home insurance?

If you’re unfortunate enough to have had a fire at your home, you should be able to make a home insurance claim to cover the cost of repairing the damage and replacing lost items.

You’ll need buildings insurance to cover repairing or rebuilding your home, and contents insurance to repair or replace any furniture or belongings damaged by fire or smoke.

These types of cover can be included in one combined insurance policy or taken out separately.

What is fire insurance?

Most buildings and contents home insurance policies cover fire damage as standard. In the UK, this cover is sometimes known as household fire insurance. Your buildings insurance will cover damage to the property itself, including permanent fixtures such as your bathroom suite. Your contents insurance will cover damage to everything portable, including your furniture, your clothes, and usually your carpets too.

Most insurers only classify damage as caused by a fire if there was an actual blaze, so fire damage is damage caused by smoke or flames. If you scorch the carpet by dropping the iron on it, the resulting damage would therefore be considered accidental damage – and will usually only be covered if you have paid to add accidental damage cover to your home insurance policy.

Does home insurance cover fire damage?

Yes, home insurance policies generally cover fire damage as standard. However, you might not be able to make a claim if a fire happens while your home is unoccupied for longer than the maximum time stated in the policy (usually between 30 and 60 days). If you’re going away for longer than that, you’ll need unoccupied property home insurance to cover the cost of damage caused by a fire.

Fire damage claims may also be refused if:

  • You told your insurer you didn’t smoke but your cigarette started the fire
  • You failed to keep fire alarms mentioned in your policy in good working order
  • You didn’t tell your insurer about renovation work done that increased the risk of a blaze
  • The damage was caused by a hot item rather than an actual fire

What should I do if there’s a fire at my home?

Claims for fire damage can sometimes take a long time. But the quicker you tell your home insurance provider – or providers if you have separate buildings and contents policies – about a fire at your home, the quicker you can start repairing the damage.

Call your insurer as soon as you can if there’s been a fire. If you’re unable to live in your home due to fire damage, your insurance provider will usually arrange for the property to be secured and cover the cost of alternative accommodation for you and the other occupants.

Once you’ve contacted your home insurance company to report a fire, it will arrange for a loss adjuster to visit your home to assess the damage. He or she will note down details of everything that needs repairing or replacing, and take photographs of the damage caused.

The loss adjuster’s report will establish the size of the claim you can make and recommend how the damage is repaired. If you’re unhappy with the loss adjuster’s findings, you can appoint your own loss assessor to negotiate the settlement and deal with any disputes.

Compare home insurance

You can protect your home against fire damage by taking out buildings insurance and contents insurance with MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance comparison service.

All you need to do is supply a few details about you and your home, and we will search the market for insurance deals to suit your needs.

Looking for home insurance?