Home Insurance and Fire Damage, Explained

Fire and smoke are listed as named perils in most homeowners insurance plans, but you may find your insurance coverage is not as straightforward as you'd hope. Read here to learn more.
Written by Liliana Pina
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover fire and smoke damage, and your expenses can even be covered if you need to move due to a fire.
While smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are an effective precautions against fire and smoke damaging your home, the best protection when damage does occur is a good homeowners insurance policy.
Here's what you should know about home insurance coverage for fire and smoke damage, with a little help from
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Does homeowners insurance cover fire or smoke damage?

Though coverage plans vary by location, provider, and price point, most homeowners insurance policies will include coverage for a
standard list of perils
or risks to your home.
According to the
National Fire Protection Association
, a home fire was reported every 93 seconds in 2019. Luckily, fire and smoke are listed as named perils in homeowners insurance plans and are therefore covered by all insurance policies (HO-1 to HO-6).
You'll need to check your homeowners insurance policy to be sure you're covered. Look at your dwelling coverage to see if your house is covered, detached structures or other structures coverage for structures not connected to your house (such as a garage or shed), and your personal property coverage for items that might be lost in a fire.

When are fire damages not covered by home insurance?

There are some caveats that come with fire and smoke coverage. Though most insurance companies will cover the cost to replace any items that are damaged or broken in a fire, as well as the cost of removing the smoke and ash in your home, they do not always cover cosmetic issues.
If the item or appliance still functions properly and the damage does not impact its performance, your insurance provider may decline to replace it.
Additionally, if you intentionally start a fire within your home, any damages you incur will not be covered by insurance.

What if a fire forces me out of my home?

Many insurance policies also come with
additional living expense coverage
that will kick in if you and your family are forcibly displaced from your home as a result of damages caused by fire and/or smoke. This policy will fully reimburse you for any additional money spent on living expenses, meals, and sometimes even specific items and pieces of furniture necessary for you to continue living life as normal.
It's important to note that additional living expense coverage provides funds for any changes in expenses, so you should not expect to pay less on any monthly expenses, but you certainly should not pay more. This coverage plan is very helpful in the event of a fire because it ensures that you will never be homeless and gives you peace of mind to tackle the other challenges in front of you.
Before filing an insurance claim, be sure that you know your policy, understand your rights, and keep a paper trail of all documents and receipts to ensure you receive the maximum payout to which you are entitled.
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