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If I have a small fire in my home should I report it to my home insurance company?

Home Fire

This is an example of a LARGE fire – report this immediately!

The decision to report small events, such as a small fire in your home, to your home insurance company usually rests in the cause of the damage. There are many reasons to report such incidents and only two good reasons not to.

Home insurance is meant to protect the valuable asset you have in your home. The most Americans do not own their homes outright but still make monthly payments. Because of this, insuring your home, event against small damages, helps keep its value.

Read on to learn when you should report a fire or other damages to your homeowners insurance company and then also be sure and enter your zip above to find cheap home insurance quotes!

Reasons to Report Small Events in Your Home

There are many reasons to report small events that happen in your home. It could be something like an accidental hole in the wall, a rotting window frame or a small fire. You might be tempted just to fix the problem yourself so that you can save your claims for big events. But sometimes keeping small events from your home insurance company can actually lead to bigger problems.

For example, if you have a small fire in your home, you may be able to repair it yourself by washing away smoke residue, replacing a small area of drywall, or any other small repair needed. However, you are not a trained professional and you may not see underlying damage that has been caused by the fire. If, for instance, smoke or water gets past the ceiling panel and you don‘t notice, damage can spread quite rapidly.

Insurance companies do not accept claims filed after the fact. There is a short time frame, usually within one month of the incident, that the claim must be filed. If you don’t do this any future damage from that one event will not be covered by your insurance. Most insurance companies will also not cover any repair work that you do yourself- if you do it incorrectly and it causes further damage.

Another thing to take into consideration is what caused the damage. If a small fire, or a rotten window frame appears and you don’t know the cause, keeping it from your insurance company can keep the root cause from being addressed. Maybe the rotting wood is from termite damage or seeping water. Maybe the small fire that broke out is from faulty electrical wires. By not allowing an insurance inspector to come out and inspect the damage, you may have much bigger problems that are never addressed.

When it comes to a fire, you must also consider whether or not the fire department was called in. When the fire department is called to a home, they must file a report that goes on record with the state. If you don’t report this to your insurance company and file a claim in the future for that part of the home, they will check if there are any reports with the fire department. If so, they will not cover your claim because you did not report the fire or damage.

What if there is no physical sign of damage?

Call your insurance company anyways and tell them the situation and that you see no physical signs of damage. The insurance company will ask you questions about the situation and determine if an insurance adjuster should come to your home and assess the area or not. The main thing to consider is whether or not you know the cause. If the cause it unknown, it is better to report. If you absolutely know the cause and the repairs are minimal, you can consider not reporting the incident.

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Two Reasons Not to Report Small Events in Your Home

Other than what was stated above, there are only two reasons not to report small events in your home.

Reason #1 – Your Rates May Go Up

First of all, just as with car insurance, the more claims you make in a small period of time, the more your premium rates will go up at renewal time.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid making a claim just to keep your rates low; it just means that the insurance company puts up a red flag when one home owner files many claims. It makes them ask the question: are all of these claims legitimate?

When deciding to report a small event, survey the area, assess what you can about any damages, and if you have any friends or acquaintances that may be more knowledgeable about the area that has damage, ask their opinion. Look back at how long it has been since your last claim and make your decision.

Reason #2 – The Cost of Your Deductible

Secondly, take into consideration your deductible. If the damage you are filing a claim for would cost less to repair than your deductible, you may want to consider not filing a claim. Of course, if this would affect your later ability to file claims, as described above, you may need to.

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No matter what you decide, you want to know that the company you work with will be able to fulfill a claim when needed. To find a company with competitive rates and receive quotes quickly, consider using our free home insurance online comparison tool. This type of tool will help you find an insurance company that you can trust when you need it the most. Enter your zip to start now!

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