Most times, when people think of house fires, they probably imagine an entire house engulfed in flames or a pile of rubble where a home use to be. These types of fires are typically called large loss insurance claims or total losses. Not every house fire results in a total loss, though. Most house fires are smaller and usually contained in one area of the home. That part of the home can have extensive damage, whereas the other side of the home may appear to be undisturbed to the untrained eye.
Some might believe only the damaged rooms should be repaired, while others may believe the entire home should be accounted for repairs. Here’s the truth, fire claims are not black and white and leave some gray areas. This gray area is where the insurance company gets by with only paying the minimum on claims.
There are three aspects of a fire that cause damage in homes that should be addressed and paid for on every claim: smoke, soot, and heat. This doesn’t mean that everything in the home will be accounted for replacement, and the insurance company will write a check and walk away. Fire claims are not that simple. What this really means is that there is more to the claim than just the destroyed parts.
Smoke travels through the home, searching for a place to escape, leaving its smell behind. Soot follows and sticks to anything it touches. The heat from the fire reaches excessive temperatures and can alter anything in its reach. These three essentially determine the damage. Smoke, soot, and heat can cause irreversible damage but can also be cleaned depending on the extent of the damage.
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