How to report fire damage to an insurance company

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Image of House Fire
Image of House Fire

How to report fire damage to an insurance company can at times be quite difficult, stressful or quite simple depending on how you go about it.

When you suffer fire damage, you may also suffer extensive water damage (caused by the Fire Brigade).

If you have a buy to let property, loss of rent should also be covered under your insurance policy.  If your insurer says that you are not covered, check your policy carefully – you may find that you are!

Contact your insurance companies claim line, tell them the following:

  1. Date and time of the incident and what type of incident.
  2. If it is an emergency, confirm that you can call out an engineer and that the insurer will cover the cost.
  3. Advise whether you are happy to use one of their recommended contractors or whether you want to use your own.
  4. If the property is not in a liveable condition, you need to confirm that to the insurer so that they can help you secure alternative accommodation immediately.

You will need to have the following handy:

  • All receipts in relation to the claim (including receipts for emergency works you may have carried out).
  • Receipts of property damaged.

If your insurer accepts the claim:

  • Once the emergency has been dealt with, they may send a surveyor to your property to assess the claim. The surveyor may ask you to sign a report.  Do not sign it, you are not legally obliged to sign anything!
  • The insurer may again recommend one of their contractors to start remedial work. You have the right to choose your own.
  • Do not tackle any works until you have been given the go ahead by the insurer or they may not payout.

If your insurer rejects the claim:

Write a letter of complaint setting out the following (write it in a story form):

Dear Sir/Madam,

On [day] [month] 201[ ] I contacted your company to advise of an incident in relation to fire damage to my property.

You rejected my claim.  I feel that this was unfairly rejected because [fill out why you believe your claim should be upheld.]

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely/faithfully

[Your name/Address etc.]

Regardless of whether you have been rejected verbally, you should never take no for an answer.

Your insurer may then send a surveyor/loss adjuster to your property to assess the claim.

Your insurer will then write to you formally outlining their final response.

If you are not happy with it, you can write to the Ombudsman outlining your complaint in detail.  Include all correspondence between you and the insurer. You will also need to give the Ombudsman a copy of your insurance policy document.