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Does home insurance cover damages because of fire and if so will my policy pay for a hotel?

Fire Damage & Home InsuranceMost basic types of home insurance will cover damages due to fire. If you do not have one of the types that fire insurance automatically comes with, you can still have “fire” listed as an included peril in whichever policy you do get.

Read on to learn all about fire damage homeowners insurance coverage and hotel payments from home insurance policies and then be sure to enter your zip above to compare free insurance rates!

Fire Insurance Coverage Basics

Fire insurance policies cover four areas, including the actual house, any adjoining structures on the property, personal property, and loss of use/additional living expenses, including the cost of any temporary housing you may need while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Every policy is different, but all typically come with a standard amount of coverage. In case of a fire, your home will be covered as well as a garage, tool shed, or any other building you may have on the property that is not actually attached to the house.

Fire insurance policies will also cover any of your personal belongings. Make sure, when you first get home insurance, that you do an item-by-item inventory of all of your belongings and file it with your insurance company.

If any item is not listed and valued, you might not be paid back for its actual cost or value. List everything, from your furniture to your dishes to your clothes, and be as specific as possible. Include pictures if you would like.

If you lose things that you have not listed in your insurance policy, you will probably receive a standard amount for each item. These standard amounts vary from policy to policy, so you will want to check with your individual policy, and may also want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

“LOU” vs “ALE”

Fire insurance policies will also cover what is referred to as “Loss of Use” and “Additional Living Expense,” or LOU and ALE, but only when the home is deemed uninhabitable or you have been ordered to evacuate by law. Policies can include one or the other, so you will want to be clear on what your actual policy includes.

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Keeping Track of Expenses

LOU typically refers to any expenses you incur while your home is being rebuilt or repaired. These expenses can include the purchase of any food or clothing items, boarding your pets, parking fees, or temporary housing (including hotels), among others. Keep track of these expenses while you are out of your home if you expect to be reimbursed.

Also, keep in mind that insurance companies cover only those expenses that are in addition to what your normal expenses would be (so only the portions of meals that exceed what a normal meal would have cost in your own home).Be very familiar with your fire insurance policy because most companies’ Loss of Use policies are also usually limited to a certain amount of coverage, which is listed as either a number amount or 20% of general policy limits. It can also be limited by maximum time limit (two weeks, for example).

Home Insurance Claims Process

Homeowners Insurance ClaimYou will need to be very methodical about the claims process. First, make yourself very familiar with all the aspects of your fire insurance policy so that you know ahead of time what is covered, what is excluded, and any limits to coverage. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the loss to make your claim. Many companies require that you enter your claim within a certain time period, so you will need to be familiar with that.

Documentation is also required. You must turn in to them thorough documentation of the event before they will start the process. This includes any statements you’ve made, and any detailed lists of the damage incurred or the things you have lost. You will not be reimbursed for anything you’ve not documented.

Time lines and payment processes vary from policy to policy and from event to event. In some cases, once your claim is finalized and approved, your insurance company will issue you a check. In others, they will advance you a certain amount of money to begin repairs or rebuilding. The claims process can be completed within two months in some cases, or can span over several months in others.

As with any claim you could file (or any aspect of life, really), get everything concerning your fire insurance claim in writing. Keep a log of any conversations you have had with anyone involved in the process. Act in good faith—this means being accessible to the insurance company, and providing any documentation they reasonably request.

The companies are also required to act in good faith. Insurance companies are operating in bad faith if they dawdle over the claims process, wrongfully deny your claims, make unreasonable demands or requests, or try to make you settle for less than you are entitled to.

Protect Your Home from Fire Damage

Your home is your biggest and most important investment, so be proactive, and be familiar with your policy. Use our home insurance rate quote tool to help you determine what kinds of policies you should look into, and what might be included with those policies. Enter your zip to start right now!

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