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Fire Damage Claims: Who Is Liable?

Written by admin on October 17, 2022 at 5:16 PM.

Fire damage claims are complex. While fire damage is covered by nearly all homeowners insurance policies, as it is the most common type of damage insurance claim, figuring out who is liable for damage is its own tricky affair. Sometimes insurance companies demand considerable paperwork. You may have your claim denied or reduced depending on liability. Here is the ultimate guide to who is liable for your fire damage claims. 

Liability for Accidental Fire Property Damage

The damage from fires and any personal injuries from an accidental fire will typically be covered by homeowners policies or renters insurance. A standard homeowners insurance policy includes several types of coverages:

  • Dwelling coverage: Pays to rebuild a home if it is destroyed by a fire, as well as the costs of cleanup and debris removal.
  • Other structures coverage: If the fire reaches another structure located on the property, other than the owner-occupied dwelling, this coverage will pay for the damage. This includes guest houses and garages separate from the home. 
  • Personal property: Compensation to repair or replace personal property destroyed by the fire or smoke. These replacement costs include everything from furniture to electronics and collectibles. 
  • Loss of use coverage: Coverage for temporary living expenses such as hotels, this comes into play if the property damage is too severe for the house to be lived in.
  • Liability coverage: If the fire damages a neighbor’s home or property, or personal injury of another individual, this coverage will cover their damages up to policy limits.

However, it is important to note that should a damage claim exceed the limits of the homeowners policy, the insurance company will not cover the extent of the damage.The insurance policy can include limits, up to $50,000 or $100,000 (via Houston Chronicle), or it may only cover the costs for damage to the property itself, none of the personal property or personal injury. This leaves the owner holding the bag, so to speak, and they will be personally responsible unless a third party contributed to the fire.

Liability for House Fires Caused by Arson

Homeowners insurance does not cover intentional damage. Therefore, if a fire was determined to have been set intentionally, your insurance company will not reimburse you for your property damage claim. Arson is considered a felony, but does not include fires set by third parties as an act of vandalism. 

Third-Party Liability for a House Fire Accident

Insurance policy coverage often does cover acts of vandalism. If a third party were to set fire to your home, you would file a vandalism claim. This third party could also be civilly responsible  and forced to pay restitution should you pursue a lawsuit.

Fire damage claims liability

Advice For Dealing With A Fire Damage Claim

When you consider the human element, fires are a traumatic experience and often dealing with an insurance adjuster who is working for an insurance company can be stressful. Their job is to inspect the damage and create a report to begin the insurance claim process. it is in your best interest to find a public adjuster. 

A public adjuster operates much like an insurance adjuster, doing the same scope of work, however they work with your interests in mind and not that of the insurance provider. Public adjusters are often a tremendous resource that can get you double the insurance payout that a private insurance adjuster will.  

The fire damage insurance claim process is complicated but finding a public adjuster who specializes in fire damage can help to alleviate some of the associated stress and simplify the insurance claim process. They can help make sure the damage payouts cover the homeowners losses entirely. This includes expensive items among the personal property among that homeowners losses.

Other Damages to Take Into Account

As if fire damage wasn’t devastating enough. There are a few other hidden damages you must take into account when dealing with a fire in an insured home. It’s not uncommon for a property to suffer water damage as a result of firefighters putting out the fire. This can also lead to mold, which some policies have mold exclusion clauses. If your insurer refuses to pay for cleaning and drying which in turn causes mold to develop, the entire damage and mold removal may be covered, despite the mold exclusion (via

The same can be said for smoke damage.  In many cases, it is more widespread than fire damage. Filing an insurance claim for smoke damage can get a little tricky but should be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. 

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Find a Public Adjuster With Stellar Adjusting

Considering a large percentage of homes experience some degree of fire damage (over 1,291,500 in 2019, according to FEMA), it’s safe to say you should be well-acquainted with your homeowners insurance coverage for fire and associated damages, including expensive items among your personal property.

You pay for homeowners insurance  as a safety net in case of property damage. Unfortunately sometimes you have to jump through hoops to get what you deserve. 

Stellar Public Adjusting will ensure you get what you deserve from your property damage claim. We offer expert processing services to all of Florida. Stellar Public Adjusting don’t subcontract, the public insurance adjuster you deal with at the beginning of your insurance claims process will be with you to the very end. 

We have experienced fire insurance claims adjusters who will work tirelessly to make sure greedy insurance companies cut no corners. 

If you think a public adjuster can help you, contact Stellar Public Adjusting Services using our free web form. If your need is urgent, feel free to call us at (888) 987-8355.


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I have full confidence in the team at Stellar and do not recommend that anyone file an insurance claim without them. The insurance company is not on your side and they are not a good neighbor.

Stellar is on your side and they are in the neighborhood. Call them immediately when damage happens.

Marc C., Miami, FL

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