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Fire damage and insurance

From tips, advice pointers and more

A fire in the home or business premises can cause catastrophic damage and personal upset and misery to all involved. Having insurance on your property in place is something we should all have but is your cover correct? Do you understand what you need to do if your property is damaged by fire? What will your insurance company do? What do you need to do? Read our guide on tips and advice on liaising with your insurance company after a fire to your property.


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When it comes to home or business premises and insurance, it can be a bewildering experience should you ever need to call on your cover due to a fire in your home or business premises. Read our tips below on how best to prepare and liaise with your insurance company.

  1. Contact your insurance company to report the claim as soon as possible. You will need to notify your insurance company of the type of loss that you have suffered, whether it's minor or major damage. Keep in mind that your insurance company may require you to contact them within a certain amount of time after a fire in the home or business premises has occurred. It is your responsibility to be aware of what your policy outlines in terms of your responsibility at such a time. The time following a fire is probably not the best time to be familiarising yourself with your policy. Your policy will detail all the information you need to know, including whether you are required to give notification in writing or not. The following is a list of information you may want to gather to include in your claim.
    • Date of fire damage/loss
    • Type of damage/loss
    • Location of damage
    • Any related injuries
    • Condition of the property
    • Description of damaged contents
    • Whether or not temporary repairs are necessary
    • A police/fire report
  2. Make a written request to your insurance carrier for an advance on your fire damage insurance claim to get living essentials you need for shelter, clothing, food, travel, etc. (this amount can be deducted from the total you receive from your insurance claim). If the fire damage is at a substantial level, look to find temporary housing.
  3. Secure your property. If only a part of your property was damaged then you need to mitigate damages. You are still responsible for the protection of your poverty and contents even after fire damage has occurred.
  4. If you have not done so already or if you have never even done so, review your insurance policy for coverage to determine how much and what type of coverage you have, what is covered, what is excluded and determine how your claim must be filed and any deadlines that might apply. This sort of information will be listed within your policy of which you would have received a copy of. If you are unable to locate your policy, contact your broker or insurance company immediately to obtain a copy for reference.
  5. Take photographs and/or video clips of the damage for reference.
  6. Make a list of all the items that have been damaged in the fire and get repair/replacement estimates for these items.
  7. If the damage was extensive and you had to seek alternative accommodation, gather and keep all receipts for your temporary living expenses.
  8. Continue paying your insurance premiums and mortgage. Do not assume that you can stop during this time as you will invalidate both.
  9. Although fire damage might be an obvious point to review in your level of cover, smoke damage is often overlooked in homeowners policies. Smoke is a natural by product of a fire and as such is just as important within your insurance cover. The damage smoke can cause is substantial and secondary damage can be a major factor in the length and cost of a restoration.
  10. If you or anyone living in your home has health sensitivities such as allergies or asthma, alert your insurance company right away. Mold and soot inside your home, if not eliminated, can irritate people with respiratory problems and a fire damaged space will be extremely problematic for such individuals. After a partial loss, you can (and should) seek payment from your insurer for mould, smoke, soot and odour removal/mitigation.

What your insurance company should do

Once you have notified your insurance company of your loss and provided the information needed to start the claim, your insurer will generally assign the case to a claims representative who will analyze your policy to determine what type of policy you have, your policy limits, what is covered, what is excluded and any other information that might be needed to commence the restoration process.

Payment process

Payment processes can differ depending on the type of loss you have suffered following a fire. For a small loss, your insurance company may simply write you a check. For a larger loss, your insurer may advance some of the costs needed to rebuild or repair your home throughout the process. Make sure that you ask your insurance company how the payment process will work in your situation, and more importantly, to get that in writing. Keeping a track of all conversations and information that you have been given is so important.

Timeline of claim

While the timeline for every claim differs depending on the nature of the claim, most claims can generally be completed within a few months. In extreme cases, the process could take several months. Fire damage isn't just what you can see. Secondary damage, as mentioned, can cause delays but it's important to make sure that this is dealt with professionally before remedial works take place. We highly recommend that you keep in close contact with your insurance company to make sure that your claim doesn't slow down or stall. You will want to get back into your home as soon as possible. Even though the aftermath of a fire can be an extremely stressful time for you, it's important to remember that your property is, for most people, the biggest investment you will ever make and you are ultimately responsible for it.

Replacement vs actual value

The difference between the two ultimately comes down to depreciation. Some policies will allow for replacement whilst others will only cover the actual value of the items as they stand in today's market value.

Employ a loss adjuster

You may want to consider hiring a loss adjuster to act on your behalf during the claim process. A loss adjuster is an insurance agent who assesses the amount of compensation that should be paid after a person has claimed on their insurance policy. Loss adjusters will act on your behalf as opposed to the insurance company. This will be an additional cost to you but ultimately it can be worth it. A loss adjuster understands insurance companies and can talk their language and ultimately could get you significantly more money than you would have otherwise received.

In any property loss situation, there are basic steps to follow to make the insurance recovery process go more smoothly. Document everything that was damaged or destroyed, file a timely claim, learn and assert your rights to full and fair payment, and get help if and when you need it. We hope you find these tips are helpful. If your home has suffered fire damage and you are looking for a professional team of fire damage restoration specialists, contact Tempest Restoration today to discuss your claim and what action you will need to take.

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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.

Tempest Restoration

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Unit 3 Jack Boddy Way Swaffham, Norfolk PE37 7HJ

Contact Tempest Restoration

Phone: 0845 052 4522
General enquiries: info@tempestrestoration.co.uk


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