Does Home Insurance Cover Fires in My House?

Caeva O'Callaghan | April 23rd, 2024

Yes, you are covered by your home insurance if a fire occurs at your house. Your insurance will pay to restore your building to the same condition as it was before the fire, but not better. Your insurance will also pay to replace your belongings.

However, the best insurance policy is practising safety, and there are many things you can do to lessen the risk of fire around your home. They won’t lower your premiums, but they’ll lower your risk of making a claim.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

Having a house fire is a traumatic experience, big or small. Part of the reason they’re so devastating is that they do more damage than you realise. Before claiming, it’s good to know what you are and aren’t covered for.

Does my home insurance cover fire brigade call out charges?

If you’re in a situation where you need to call 999, the last thing on your mind is going to be insurance paperwork. All home insurance companies do cover fire brigade call-out charges, but you need to check how much your insurance company will give you as fire brigade call-out costs vary from county to county.

For example, Zurich, FBD and Liberty Insurance will cover fees up to 2,000 while the maximum payout from Axa will be €2,600.

Make a quick call to your home insurance, and they will let you know how much you’re covered for in terms of fire brigade callout charges.

What types of fire are covered by my home insurance?

Chimney fires are one of the leading causes of fire damage to homes in Ireland. Each policy is different, but building insurance will usually cover a fire caused by a chimney. These fires happen often, especially in colder weather, as many people don’t know how important it is to keep a chimney clean. When creosote – a highly combustible substance formed as a result of condensed smoke – builds up on the inside of your flue, it can go up like a candle.

Most home insurance policies cover accidental fires too. Even if your son decides to play with matches under the box spring. Or, if your daughter wants to clean her plastic football boots with an aerosol in front of an open fire, and suddenly notices flames jump out of the can.

What will my home insurance pay for after a fire?

As soon as the fire brigade leaves, you will need to notify your insurance provider. Then, they will assign a loss adjuster to your case. They will deal with your claim, and probably come to inspect your property. It’s important you move and change as little as possible, so they can accurately assess the damage.

The loss adjuster should be present when you sort your belongings to find out what is lost, and what can be saved. This is so they can provide you with an accurate reimbursement figure.

We recommend using the SCSI rebuilding guide, which is updated and improved each year, to make sure your rebuild costs and contents replacement are valued correctly. So kitchens, built-in wardrobes, bathrooms, fireplaces are all part of your buildings, as are outbuildngs, fences, sheds and green houses. Everything that isn’t nailed down, counts as contents.

It’s important to get this figure right, because if the cost of restoring the building and/or contents is more than the amount you’re insured for you’ll have to pay the difference. Your insurance company will only pay its share of the loss, which is described on your policy.

Contents Insurance

When it comes to contents, most insurance companies take off a certain amount for wear and tear – particularly for clothes, coats, linen, and carpets.

Your insurance will also pay for repairs to your home’s structure. They’ll also include permanent fixtures like doors and windows. Fire damage does include smoke damage, but not to fireplaces and stoves. Remember that the cost of rebuilding a house has no relation to its market value.

Depending on your policy, your insurance company may recommend preferred tradesmen, which may take some stress off your shoulders. Or, you can choose your own favourite contractors. Make sure you keep the receipts for all labour and clean up costs. Also, you should make sure your home insurance company authorises these costs before you proceed.

Getting insurance after a house fire

Had a house fire previously? You might find it a bit more difficult to get a quote from some insurance companies. Either the premiums will get expensive, or some companies refuse to insure you at all. If this is the case, there are some steps you can take to find out why.

The cause of the previous fire may affect your premiums. If it was unexpected and unlikely, this may count in your favour. But if the fire was started by a chip pan or unattended candle, this demonstrates careless behaviour and insurers are unlikely to want to take the risk.

Some providers may want you to put extra safety devices in place, such as more smoke alarms. Others may ask that you complete different requirements. In the end, insurers want to stay as safe and risk-free as possible. Call us up today, and we’ll be happy to give you some advice to improve your situation.

Fire safety

The best way to avoid a claim is by avoiding fire. Always blow candles out if you’re leaving the room, and never leave candles or incense underneath low shelves or by curtains.

Don’t overload electrical sockets. One appliance per socket is ideal. If you’re cooking, watch out for electrical leads running from the stand mixer over open flames or steaming pots. Chip pans can be lethal – it’s often a good idea to use it outside.

If you have an open fire, use a fireguard, especially if the wood or coal is “lively”. Get your chimney swept every year.

Don’t refill mobile oil heaters when turned on, don’t move mobile oil heaters when plugged in, and install smoke detectors throughout the house.

Give us a call in with your queries 

If you need more information on what fire damage you are covered for with your home insurance,  call anytime and get our expert advice from our insurance agents. As home insurance agents we have seen many different scenarios and can offer our advice to you. Call us anytime between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

You can also get an instant home insurance quote online through our online quote system. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your situation.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.