Fire insurance - everything you need to know

Fire is a destructive force and the worst thing about it is that you never know when one will start. 

There are so many things that can happen which can cause a fire to begin. We've got to be so thankful for our fire and rescue service. We must also know our way out and educate our children on what to do in the event of a fire. 

We can also protect ourselves financially. Let's have a look at fire insurance and everything you need to know.

fire insurance insurance
fire insurance insurance

What is fire insurance?

Fire insurance is usually part of your standard home insurance policy. It's always worth checking though as it might not be as part of a 'build your own' insurance policy. 

If a fire were to occur, fire insurance provides cover for the loss and fire damage to your home, not only caused by the fire itself but the smoke too. Your insurance provider will pay for the cost of getting everything back to how it was. 

This might include repairing damage, rebuilding structures, and replacing things that were damaged. Your contents insurance should cover the cost of any of your belongings that were destroyed.

Do you need fire insurance?

If you have a mortgage, you will legally need home insurance. Most insurance companies include fire coverage as standard but it's worth checking it is included before you purchase your home insurance policy. Whether or not you purchase contents insurance is completely up to you, but think about how you'd replace all the items in your home should they go up in smoke.

What is included or excluded in a fire insurance policy?

Your policy should cover the rebuilding and repairing costs but there are different things that may or may not be included as standard. When your home gets damaged in a fire, you can't live in it until the fire damage is fixed. 

It's not safe for you or your family to be in there and it could take a long time for it to be repaired. In this case, your insurance company will pay for accommodation. You need to look at the policy for fire insurance coverage. 

There might be exclusions such as fire resulting from natural disasters. You might not be covered if you leave the property empty for more than 30 days. If you have amendments to the property which you have not declared your policy might be void. Faulty smoke alarms or smoke alarms not in use (e.g. batteries have been removed or have not been replaced) could invalidate your insurance too.

There might also be excesses to pay, which will be illustrated in the paperwork of your policy. Don't forget that your home insurance policy will only cover your home. You'll need contents insurance to cover your belongings.

Average cost of fire insurance cover

The average cost of home insurance, including fire insurance cover, varies year on year. The average person can expect to pay around £140 for a policy. Some will pay more, others will pay less. Don't just go for the cheapest though, as it might not include all the coverage you require. You need to find the most affordable which includes everything you need it to.

Factors that will affect the cost of your policy

The cost that we pay for home insurance policies is affected by many factors. This includes but isn't limited to where you live, the house you own, and how many people are in the property. The insurer takes into consideration the age of your property and how much it would take to rebuild. Fire alarms and smoke detectors can also affect the price you pay.

Check for specifics

There are certain specifics that people might look at when they are buying fire insurance. One of these might be smoking. Whilst smoking won't invalidate your insurance, lying about smoking certainly could. It's also worth noting that smokers can expect to pay around 20% more than non-smokers for home fire insurance.

What information do you need to get a quote

To get a home insurance quote you will need to start with your personal details. You will also need information about the property, who lives there, and the security. You'll also need the rebuild estimate for the property and if you're buying contents insurance, the values of said contents.

When you get a quote online or over the phone you'll run through the details one by one. This makes it easy to fill in the required information. 

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Joseph Seager from DadFatDiary.com suggests keeping your insurance information somewhere offsite

"Be sure that you keep the documentation of your fire insurance policy somewhere safe so you can access it should your house get fire damage. Many of us have paperwork in our home but what do you do should that go up in flames? An easy-to-find email in your inbox or on cloud storage is ideal. In the event of a fire, your safety and the safety of your family is paramount. Get everyone out, stay out, sound the alarm and let the experts do their job. Remember, above all, stay safe."

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What to do if there is a fire

The first thing to do is get everyone out of the property. You also need to inform neighbours who will likely have to evacuate their property. It's essential to call the fire brigade who will attend, take over the search for missing people, and put the fire out. 

The fire service says that you should have an escape route planned that everyone in your house is familiar with. Do not stop for valuables. Most things can be replaced, your life cannot. Contact your insurance company who will help you with the next steps.

How to make a fire insurance claim

Making a fire insurance claim begins by contacting the insurer that you have a policy with. They will probably have a 24 hour emergency number for situations just like yours. The sooner you contact them, the sooner the claim gets underway. Once the fire is out and the fire service has gone, it is up to you to secure your property. 

Remember, this is your responsibility. If this needs to be done quickly (eg. due to potential danger) and as long as the price is sound, you can instruct your contractors to make the property safe and secure. 

If there is no rush, you should get instructions from your insurance company. You then need to find temporary accommodation. Your insurance company might be able to help with that depending on how quickly you get in touch and the time of day you contact them.

The insurance company will then appoint a Loss Adjuster with who you'll need to meet with. They'll look at everything that has happened and file an initial report. After that emergency contractors will be appointed and a Chartered Surveyor will be required to access any structural damage. 

Claims will then be organised, including contents if you have it. Emergency accommodation should also be covered before you can move into long-term temporary accommodation. After this a number of things will happen before you can move back into your home. 

This will include the tender process and building work. Eventually, you'll be back in your home again. Keep communication open and be sure to chase things up if they aren't happening as quickly as you would like.

How to get the best fire insurance quote

The best fire insurance quote is the more affordable one that covers everything you need it to. There may be cheaper ones but there is no point in paying for something which doesn't provide the coverage you need it to. Use a comparison site like Quidco Compare to find the best policy for you and you'll also get the added bonus of £33 cashback!

Compare home insurance with Quidco

Like any other comparison site, we work with the best providers to find you great deals. We'll also give you £33 cashback on top when you take out a policy.

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FAQs

What is fire insurance?

Fire insurance covers you for the loss and damage to your home. If the worst was to happen and your property was gutted by a fire, having an insurance policy for this would mean the cost of fixing the damage would be covered. 

Is fire insurance necessary?

Home insurance is required if you have a mortgage. Ask yourself how you would rebuild your property should it be burned down and you didn't have insurance. 

Does home insurance cover fire damage?

Home insurance policies usually include fire protection as standard. If you are at all unsure, ask the company you're getting the insurance from before you buy the policy. 

How much fire insurance do I need?

You need to ensure your fire insurance property would cover the rebuild costs of your property. For contents insurance, you need to have enough coverage for the items that would need replacing. 

Does insurance cover accidental fire?

Yes. Accidental damage is covered by your policy. 

What is covered under fire insurance?

Your insurance policy would cover the fixing of your property should it be salvageable and the rebuilding of your property if it needs to be condemned. The replacing of contents would be part of a contents insurance policy. 

What is not covered under fire insurance?

Different policies have different exclusions, some may have no exclusions at all. Check with your insurance company. Contents will not be covered under your home insurance, you'll need a joint or separate policy. 

How do I handle a fire insurance claim?

The first step is to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the event. They are experienced in this and can advise and handle things throughout the process.