Does homeowners insurance provide protection against smoke damage?
UPDATED: Mar 10, 2014
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Asked March 10, 2014
Smoke and fire damage are included in all standard home insurance policies, but there may be exclusions which limit when and how much coverage is available. The way the smoke damage occurs is going to be important in this, because you may not be covered for intentional damages or damages related to personal negligence.
Intentional damages may be caused by any member of you immediate family, but do not usually include damages caused by someone outside of the home. For example, if a child playing with matches causes a fire, you insurance company may deny the claim because the child was playing with matches, not because they were trying to burn the home down.
If your kitchen has smoke damage because of something that was forgotten on the stove, it may not be covered by your insurance policy. Since you are expected to maintain the property yourself, allowing something to burn on the stove is regarded as negligence because you did not take steps to indicate you have respect for the insured property.
Many times, smoke damage is only a small part of a fire damage claim. If there was a fire in the home, your claim would be for fire damage, not smoke damage, even though the repairs needed for smoke damage are part of the claim. To determine how this works with your policy, read it carefully or contact your insurance company to have it explained to you.
Home insurance has limits for most types of losses. If the claim is for more than the limits allow, the insurance company will pay the designated limit amount, leaving you pay the rest of the cost out of pocket. This could be a minor amount or a lot, depending on the type of policy you have, because an Actual Cash Value policy only pays a deprecated amount while a Full Replacement Value policy would pay for the full repairs. FRV coverage costs more than ACV coverage, but the savings could be well worth paying a little extra in premiums.
Answered March 10, 2014 by Anonymous