My home survived a wildfire, but now everything smells like smoke. Is it covered?

Date: Aug 12, 2021
By: Basi Insurance

The short answer is, usually, YES! Soot, ash, and smoke damage are generally covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

After a fire, you’ll need to contact your insurance agent A.S.A.P. so they can check your policy and help walk you through the claims process. Any damage will be reported to your insurer so you will need to make a list of damaged items for the adjuster. To do this, you will need to inventory the contents of your home (a written list or video), then document any and all damage to your home or items in the home by making a list and taking photos or video.

The best way to be fully knowledgeable of your insurance policy coverage is to ask your insurance policy provider. Most insurance policies list two categories of perils: those that are covered and those that are not. If you live in a high risk of wildfire area, you may need additional policy coverage. This article, however, offers general information with regards to home insurance coverage on smoke damage.

Smoke may damage a part of or your entire house even if the fire has been quickly put out. In some scenarios, such damage could force the homeowner to vacate his or her house while it is being sanitized or repainted. Smoke damage is covered by a home insurance policy. Home insurance policies also include smoke damage in their coverage even if it originated from other sources outside the house. Some of the common things that smoke could damage are your furniture and house walls. Your home insurance policy will cover for the cleaning and repainting of such damages.

Smoke can come from many sources. The policy doesn’t cover industrial smoke because if you move in next to a factory you are aware of that risk. Although, smoke from other unexpected sources is a covered loss. While fire is also a covered loss on renters insurance, you can have smoke damage without a fire. A fire in another apartment could cause smoke damage to your property. A small fire in one room of your apartment could damage everything in your home. The smoke could even come from smoldering material that is put out before it causes a fire.

Smoke damage to personal property is difficult to deal with. If cleaning porous material is possible at all, it’s very expensive. More often than not smoke damage results in a total loss to the property in question. Only so much time, energy, and money are worthwhile to clean property. Replacement is often the better option. Renters insurance generally comes with replacement cost coverage. Replacement cost means you can buy new items to replace the damaged ones rather than relying on the actual cash value of the property.

Some information obtained by and by


To prepare before any potential catastrophe, it is always prudent to keep a current inventory of items in your home. It’s one less thing to worry about if a tragedy occurs.

If you have questions about your homeowner’s or renter’s coverage, contact your favorite Basi agent at 209-847-3065, email [email protected], or click Our Staff to make an appointment or find the email address of your agent. Take care out there!

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