Tag Archives: fire damage

Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Home fires do more than just damage property. They also represent a potentially fatal danger to the occupants. What many people don’t realize is that home fire risks are actually higher in the winter.

Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

Take steps to protect yourself and your family by understanding the three leading causes of home fire damage and learning a few important prevention strategies to help ensure you don’t become a victim.

Home Fire Damage: 3 Major Causes and Prevention Tips

3 Main Causes of Home Fire Damage

While specific statistics vary from state to state, national fire safety experts identify these three causes as the leading culprits behind home fire damage:

  • Cooking facilities and equipment. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), cooking was the root cause of 46 percent of American house fires between 2010 and 2014. While risks are higher on holidays, when cooking facilities and equipment are working overtime, a cooking-related house fire can start just about any time.
  • Home heating equipment. With heat and fire being a natural combination, it’s no surprise that this is another leading cause of house fires. Most heating-related fires are started by space heaters, including both the portable and fixed varieties. Chimneys are another common cause of house fires, and many more are started by leaving flammable items too close to heat sources.
  • Electrical infrastructure. Electrical failures and the malfunctioning of electrical equipment is another serious hazard that should be on your home safety radar.

By implementing a few easy, common-sense safeguards and solutions, you can dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing a house fire.

Home Fire Prevention Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

Let’s look at each of the three common causes of home fire damage and consider the ways in which each of them can be prevented.

Cooking Facilities and Equipment

Here are some ways to avoid cooking-related house fires:

  • Always keep an eye on your food when you are cooking using an exposed source of heat, such as an electric cooktop or a gas element
  • If you must leave your food unattended temporarily, turn off the heat until you return
  • Take a moment to completely clear the cooking area of all flammable materials, such as paper towels and dish cloths, before you start cooking
  • Ensure that functional smoke detectors are located no more than 10 feet from your main cooking area

Home Heating Equipment

Use these home heating equipment tips to beat house fires:

  • Use the three-foot rule around all heating equipment: make sure the space around any and all home heating sources has at least three full feet of unobstructed clearance on all sides
  • Have a professional clean your chimney at least once a year, ideally at the start of the heating season
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure to set up an effective screen around its opening and ensure that all fires are completely extinguished before you go to bed for the night
  • Reduce your heat consumption at night to safeguard against the possibility of a fire starting while you’re asleep

Electrical Infrastructure

Reduce your risk for electrical fires with these helpful hints:

  • Review manufacturer specification for the safe operation of electrical appliances, including both low-wattage and high-wattage products, and use only one high-wattage appliance at any one time
  • Ensure that all appliances have strong, sturdy electrical cords; do not use an appliance that has a weak, damaged, or frayed cord
  • Make sure that all rooms in your home are serviced by emergency circuit interrupters that will cut power if it reaches risky levels
  • Have any and all potential electrical problems services by a licensed technician. Old, faulty wiring and outdated infrastructure can also be very hazardous.

It is also important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to home insurance if you ever have to file a fire damage claim with your insurer.

If you need professional help handling fire or water damage repairs, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. Family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience, we are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

We work for you, not the insurance company!

Get your no-obligation quote!

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to home insurance if you ever have to file a fire damage claim with your insurer.

A home fire is traumatic enough on its own. The last thing you want to be worried about is potential problems with your insurance company.

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

To help you avoid delays or disputes, here are ten proven tips curated from insurance industry professionals.

#1: Act fast to secure your property

Your insurance company will expect you to take reasonable action to safeguard your property from further possible damage. Ensure all fire embers and smoldered out, and if you have to leave your home, make sure all doors, windows and other possible entryways are secured.

#2: Create a list of everything that’s been damaged or destroyed

In addition to making this list, it’s also a good idea to document the damage with photographs. If possible, use these photos as part of a “before and after” presentation, and submit them with your claim.

#3: File your claim promptly

Once you’ve accounted for everyone in the home and you’ve reached a safe place and contacted the authorities, the next call you make should be to your insurance company. Don’t delay.

#4: Keep tabs on your expenses

You may be eligible for reimbursements for expenses incurred as the result of being displaced from your home. Hotels, restaurant meals, and emergency supplies typically qualify. Make sure to keep all receipts related to these expenses.

#5: Gather estimates

Contact reputable contractors and licensed repair and remediation professionals. Get estimates in writing and keep multiple copies so you can present them to your insurer when asked.

#6: Keep paying your insurance premiums

Now is not the time to risk having your home insurance lapse for non-payment of premiums. Make every effort to ensure your premiums are paid in full for the duration of the investigation and claims adjustment period.

#7: Ask for an advance

If you had to vacate the premises on short notice to evade the fire and you’re struggling to meet your day-to-day expenses, you can ask your insurance company for an advance. This advance will be subtracted from the final amount of your approved claim, so keep it to reasonable levels and allocate the funds wisely.

#8: Keep your claim open

Some insurance companies try to close fire damage claims as quickly as possible, especially if a fire has affected multiple properties in a localized area. However, this can lead you to settle for less than you deserve. You may have missed something in your haste that you might have discovered and been able to add to your claim if it was still open. Open your claim as soon as possible, and keep it open until you are certain that nothing has been overlooked.

#9: Contact a public adjuster

Public adjusters effectively serve as arbitrators between claimants and insurance companies. If you feel you aren’t being offered a fair settlement, contact a public adjuster to discuss your case.

#10: Don’t worry about future premiums

As long as your claim is legitimate and you haven’t made any attempt to defraud the insurance company, you probably won’t have to worry about your premiums going up or your insurance being cancelled. Your policy will remain in place, and your rates won’t rise if the fire wasn’t your fault.

If your insurance claim is contested or denied despite your best efforts and you believe the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you have options. Speak to an attorney specializing in residential insurance claims, or contact the office of your state’s insurance commissioner to access local resources.

If you need professional help handling fire or water damage repairs, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. Family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience, we are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

We work for you, not the insurance company!

Get your no-obligation quote!