Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Fire and Smoke Damage?

Apr 20, 2017

An accidental wildfire ignited by a Bryceville resident’s illegal burning activity destroyed and damaged multiple homes and burned hundreds of acres of surrounding woodlands. Other property, such as motor vehicles, were also damaged or destroyed. Thankfully no one was killed.

The recent wildfire began when the Bryceville resident illegally burned paperback books and other clutter in his yard, according to the Florida Forest Service. It was windy that day and the flames quickly spread from five acres to 700 acres. The responsible resident will have to pay for the expenses the state incurred in responding to the fire, including aircraft and bulldozers.

One homeowner whose house was destroyed says he’s worried that his family’s insurance policy won’t cover their losses.

Fire Damage Can Be Devastating

Whether or not your insurance policy covers smoke and fire damage depends on the specific terms of your policy. It’s important to understand what these terms mean before you purchase a policy and before you file an insurance claim. That’s why you should always consult with an experienced insurance attorney.

The visual damage from a fire is readily apparent. Your home and belongings might be charred, blackened or in ashes. But there are secondary, sometimes less visible, effects that can be just as damaging. Two examples are:

  • Smoke damage — The smell of smoke can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, the smell can also be difficult to get rid of, and you might be tempted to dump your belongings, but don’t do so before the extent of the damage has been thoroughly documented.
  • Water damage — This type of damage might not be the first thing that comes to mind when your house catches on fire, but since firefighters will use water to extinguish the flames your house and belongings are at risk of sustaining water damage. Also, if the structural damage is such that the inside of your house is now exposed to the elements, you also risk water damage caused by rain.

Parts of Florida Experience Drought Conditions

Parts of Florida are experiencing a drought, and some are worried that dry conditions, low humidity and strong winds substantially increase the odds of wildfires like the one that recently occurred in Bryceville. In fact, a recent brush fire shut down part of a state highway between Orlando and the Space Coast.

According to the Florida Forest Service, the state has experienced 30 percent more fires in the first few months of 2017 than it did in 2016. There have been 1,000 documented wildfires and 46,000 acres burned compared to 700 fires and 12,900 acres burned during the same period last year. Homeowners need to be aware of these dangers and take adequate precautions, like avoiding burn pits, bonfires and other self-started fires that could trigger a larger blaze.

Contact Us Today

Fire damage can affect all or part of a property.  Fortunately, homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage for fire, smoke and water. At the Insurance Litigation Group. we will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and the insurance claims process. We will take the time to thoroughly analyze your policy and will work to resolve any coverage dispute and also litigate issues of liability and damages to achieve an expeditious payment of benefits owed. Our office includes speakers of English, Spanish, Creole and Russian to meet your needs

Contact us today for a free consultation if your property has sustained fire, smoke or water damage.




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We are a client-focused law firm that fights aggressively on behalf of residential and commercial policyholders, contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, to produce maximum recovery results from insurance companies through our unique expertise, deep understanding of insurance law, cutting edge technology and proactive approach to litigation.

Insurance Litigation Group serves clients across the state of Florida. With over 5 offices statewide, our attorneys have the knowledge, skills and experience to resolve your dispute against the insurance company. 

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