Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Smoke Damage from Neighbor's Fire?

Smoke damage from a neighbor's fire is usually covered by your insurance. However, there are some technicalities.
Written by Elan Mcafee
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
homeowner’s insurance
covers fire damage,
including smoke damage
, within your home. It will cover damage resulting from a fire in your neighbor's house, too—albeit with some limitations.
Unfortunately, things do get a little bit technical when a neighbor's fire damaged your property. However,
car insurance
and broker app
​has compiled all you need to know about the technicalities of smoke damage from a neighbor's fire.

Qualifying circumstances for homeowner’s insurance to cover smoke damage

Nearly all fire and smoke damage is covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. There are a few gray areas, but it does not matter if the fire occurred in your home or another nearby building. However, if a fire is deliberately caused by the homeowner, then insurance will not pay for the damage.
So, if your neighbor burns their own house down, their homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the cost of repairs or replacement. However, since the fire was not your fault, your homeowner’s is likely to still pay to fix smoke damage from your neighbor's fire.

What smoke damage will my homeowner's insurance cover?

While every homeowner’s policy is unique, standard homeowner’s insurance covers smoke damage in relation to the following things:
  • Smoke damage to walls and other structural elements within home.
  • Smoke damage to other structures, such as fences and sheds.
  • Damage to personal property, such as clothing or electronics.
  • Additional living expenses if home is uninhabitable due to smoke damage from neighbor’s fire.
  • Medical costs associated with smoke inhalation.
The amount homeowner’s insurance will pay for smoke damage from a neighbor’s fire depends on the limits of your policy and severity of the situation. Check your policy to see the maximums that can be paid for different categories of smoke damage. If you still lack clarity, contact your homeowner’s insurance agent to discuss your policy.

How to file a claim for smoke damage from a neighbor’s fire

Once authorities have deemed your home safe, you should take photos of the smoke damage. Discolored walls and varnishes are typically telltale signs. It can leave residues on surfaces. Use a good quality camera to capture smoke damage in your home.
Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent to begin a claim. Describe what happened, and provide the photos that you took. If you have out-of-pocket expenses, such as motel stays due to an uninhabitable home, keep your receipts and provide copies to your insurance agent as well.
Your agent will likely arrange an inspection of the damage in conjunction with a claims adjuster and require quotes to repair the damage. Be sure to determine if you are responsible for arranging quotes or if the insurance company will handle those details. Once the claims adjuster has a clear idea of what happened and the costs to put your home right, your homeowner’s insurance company will cover the smoke damage from your neighbor’s fire.
Key Takeaway Be sure to take photos of any smoke damage before you file a claim.


Does homeowner's insurance cover smoke damage?

Yes, usually. As long as you're not at fault, or if the damage is a result of gross negligence, you should be covered for smoke damage. Check with your insurance provider to see exactly what kind of coverage you have.

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