Fire damage to your home, are you covered?

Fire Damage & Insurance

Is your home suitably covered if you suffer fire damage?

Picture the scene, your home, for whatever reason is ablaze. Regardless of the source of the fire, whether its electrical, human causes (such as cigarettes), mother nature or arson, you will probably want to call your insurance company for help and advice. Naturally you might think that you will be able to claim on insurance if there’s a fire in your home?

While nearly all standard home insurance policies cover you in the event of a fire damaging your property and possessions, there are certain conditions which mean you may have invalidated your cover, perhaps without realising.


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Remember that an insurance company will only provide the basic cover for your property unless otherwise specified. It is your responsibility to inform them of any changes in your cover and the right level you require for your needs.

The part of you insurance policy which covers you for fire is crucial as fire in a domestic home is relatively common. Whether it’s caused by an overheating chip pan or chimney, a lighting strike, or a neighbour’s property going up in smoke, fire damage is one of the main reasons people claim.

According to UK insurer Aviva, fire is the fifth most common reason for a claim being made. And fire damage is usually pretty extensive, while remedial work doesn’t come cheap.

Claim payout vs non payout

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) show that the average pay out by insurance companies to those claiming for fire damage is £10,200.

Imagine having to find that much money if you’ve somehow manage to invalidate your insurance and ultimately your ability to claim for fire damage? Could you afford to take such a hit?

Common reasons fire claims are rejected

Unfortunately we find that some policy holders have their insurance claims rejected for damage caused by fire. one of the most common reasons for a claim being turned down involve three areas: fire detectors, people who smoke and home improvements. Here is a brief run down of the these three main reasons:

Fire detectors

Many insurers offer small discounts on the cost of cover if a home has fire detectors as a fire that’s detected early is more likely to be put out quickly and cause less damage.

However, a good number of policies stipulate that if you’ve told your insurer you have fire alarms, they must work. If an insurer finds that a home’s fire detectors weren’t functioning correctly at the time of a fire, they might reduce the claim pay out, or even turn it down altogether.


When you take out cover, you will probably be asked if any smokers live in the house. This is a commonly asked question when making enquiries. According to the London Fire Brigade, The most common cause of house fire death in the home is smoking. According to the government, cigarettes are the most deadly cause of house fire fatalities. At the time of your enquiry their may not be, so you would naturally say no. But someone might then move into the home who is a smoker, such as a lodger or tenant in a shared property, or even a new partner, and you might overlook telling your insurer. If a house fire follows, irrespective of whether smoking is the cause, and the insurer discovers there is a smoker in the property, a claim for fire damage could be denied. It would almost certainly be rejected if the fire were smoking related.

Home improvements & development

Many people are now looking to expand their living space within their home rather than move. This usually means structural work to the building. Major home improvements can be problematic because many homeowners forget that they need to tell their insurance provider about them. When you make an insurance enquiry you will be asked how many bedrooms are in the property. A common reason for expansion is the need for more bedroom space. If a fire were to occur during the building work, or after, but you hadn’t told the insurer about the additions, your claim may be refused on the grounds that you have made alterations to the agreement you had.

It’s understandable from an insurer’s point of view. Adding a new loft bedroom, or extending into an adjoining garage and putting bedrooms above it, for example, increases the cost of re-building a home if it were destroyed due to a fire. The insurer needs to take this into account when assessing how much of a ‘risk’ a property is. Adding more rooms to your property may require you to pay more for your home cover. Keep in mind that although your annual premium may increase, this is a mere drop in the ocean compared to finding yourself with invalid insurance and the reality of having to rebuild your property through self funding.

Tempest Restoration 24/7 service


A. We aim to be on the scene as soon as we can. With technicians located acrosss the UK, you are never too far away from the expert help of Tempest Restoration. The longer you delay after your property has been affected by fire, the worse the damage will be. From the moment of arrival on site, we will begin the decontamination process. We work around the clock to ensure that fire damage and your losses are kept to a minimum. We aim to safely return your business to normal, as quickly as possible.

A. Damage caused by fire may look superficial but its the effects on materials that are not visible that can have lasting consequences to health and to the structure of a building. Potential hazards include asbestos and lead among others. Your home is full of porous materials and smoke can penetrate these materials beyond what is viewable by the naked eye. Our bespoke equipment and understanding of the uniqueness of each fire gives us the ability to detect fire damage and deal with it safely and effectively. Hired machines in the hands of inexperienced operators will cost unnecessary time and money in the long term. We understand the urgency of returning your home to its pre incident state and we operate quickly and efficiently to do so for you.

A. From your point of view, the quicker the process starts, the quicker you can be back in your home. Restoration work following a fire can be lengthy, it would be wrong to assume its a quick fix. Secondary damage caused by fire begins within minutes but can be minimised if dealt with promptly by a professional. During a fire, chemical reactions produce chemicals that are toxic and potentially fatal. During the time that the fire services are extinguishing the flames, the use of water (although required for putting out the fire) can unfortunately cause further structural damage and additional hazards. The contaminated area needs to be neutralised and rendered safe to prevent further damage and degradation. Potentially, every minute is costing you money.

A. During the combustion of a fire, chemical changes occur and environmental pollutants are created, many of which are harmful to human health. This seems fairly straight forward but natural and synthetic materials in your home produce a vast array of chemicals, depending on their makeup. Here at Tempest, we thoroughly assess the entire area using state-of-the-art testing equipment to detect any traces of hazardous substances.

A. Of paramount importance and priority is safety. Fire can, however big or small, cause structural damage to your home. Even past the point of the emergency services approving the site safe for entry, you should still proceed with caution. Every fire is different and unique. The location of a fire in your home can cause a chain reaction to other rooms, and sometimes it can be contained, either way the process of restoration is variable depending on many different factors. We assess each site to ascertain the extent of the damage and the precise actions required. We undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and survey of the property along with safety checks of power supplies to isolate any further damage. Ventilation of the home then removes trace of odour. Contents are assessed for renovation/removal and damaged surfaces are decontaminated and cleaned, neutralising odours.

A. During a fire the heat produced can reach thousands of degrees. The corrosive smoke produced is forced into every space and becomes trapped in porous materials, most surfaces will almost certainly suffer corrosion. Combustion will create chemical products that will be toxic long after fire is extinguished. During the fire, fumes and chemicals produced such as carbon monoxide are potentially fatal. It is essential that your home is decontaminated by a professional following a fire, you could be ricking your health if you don't.

A. Yes. A fire produces chemical residues during combustion. The combustion process releases harmful chemicals into the environment. In older buildings materials such as asbestos and mercury have fatal side effects when subjected to fire. These chemicals penetrate porous materials and surfaces within the building itself. Smoke particles can penetrate some places you probably didn't think of, such as your heating system. If left, they can remain for months in the atmosphere which can result in lung irritation and respiratory problems, a major reason for having a professional undertake the restoration work.

A. Given that each fire is individual and unique based on many different factors including location, time and combustibles, the damage caused and cost to restore is also variable. In order to limit these costs, it is essential that fire damage remediation commences as quickly as possible. The secondary damage caused to properties begins following the fire being extinguished and will cause costs to escalate if not stopped. Our swift response teams located across the UK can be on site speedily and act quickly and efficiently to ensure your losses are kept to a minimum and your home can be back to normal in a short space of time.

A. Our technicians are trained to the highest standards and are equipped to decontaminate fire and soot-damaged properties. We have been restoring, renovating and repairing domestic and commercial premises for over many years and have served hundreds of customers in across the UK, helping them get back to normal. We are trusted providers to many insurance companies who come highly recommend.

A. We operate across the UK with technicians available in major towns and cities. Our head office is based in Swaffham, Norfolk where we undertake all our training.

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