What are the exclusions in fire insurance?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:21 pm   Post subject: What are the exclusions in fire insurance?  

i have a fire policy (just fire) for my home.if an earthquake cause a fire and the fire due to earthquake destroy the house ,can i claim againt the damage?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:57 pm   Post subject:   

I doubt you have a policy that only covers fire. "Fire Policies" are really "Dwelling Policies" as they are called today. That is, they insure the dwelling alone and not any personal contents. They usually have named perils. So you either need to read the perils insured against and see if one is earth quakes or speak to your agent.



You really should not buy a policy unless you understand what it covers.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:48 pm   Post subject:   

Quote:
They usually have named perils


And if they don't have named perils (because it is an "all risk" policy), then there will be one or two pages of named exclusions, which is where you might find "earthquake" or "earth movement" listed.



If your home/dwelling is damaged by fire, even if caused by the effects of an earthquake, it could be covered. An example would be the Loma Prieto earthquake in San Francisco in the late 1990s. Many properties relatively undamaged by the earthquake were destroyed by fire that originated elsewhere (in a neighbor's home) and the fire department was unable to stop the fire from spreading. Where the insurance would not have paid for earthquake-induced damage to the property, the fire coverage did.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:11 pm   Post subject:   

There are many examples of companies selling fire policies which cover only fire, lightning and removal, just like the original 165 line fire policy. As I noted in another thread, there are 3 options, Fire and Lightning; Fire, Lightning and EC; and Fire, Lightning and EC and V & M M .


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:27 am   Post subject:   

Let's actually answer the OPs question, shall we?



The simple answer is "no, it won't."



Earthquake is specifically excluded in homeowner contracts, and if coverage for that peril is desired, it must be added through an endorsement to the policy, for additional premium. As well, it's extremely unlikely that you have a policy that JUST covers fire, as mentioned previously.



First of all, I'm assuming that you have a mortgage on the property. There isn't a lienholder in the world that would accept "fire only" coverage as satisfactory coverage in order to protect the mortgagee's interests in the loan. If there's no lien on the property, you can have any coverage you'd like on the property.



As to your question:

Quote:
i have a fire policy (just fire) for my home.if an earthquake cause a fire and the fire due to earthquake destroy the house ,can i claim againt the damage?




Property insurance tends to look for what's called the "proximate cause" of the loss to determine any additional coverage that might come into play. The proximate cause, keeping it simple, is the "originating" cause, which in your question, would be the earthquake. Certain states are slowly starting to unravel this concept, but it's still alive and well.



If the proximate cause isn't covered, then ensuing damage cause by the (now excluded) loss wouldn't be covered, either. Now, there are some exceptions to this, but those wouldn't likely come into play with your issue.



For example, let's say that the wind ripped the roof and underlayment off of your home, and as a result of the wind damage, rain entered into your dwelling and ruined your furniture. Since the wind damage is a compensbile loss, the ensuing damage to your furniture would likely be covered as well.



Hopefully, this makes sense!



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:05 pm   Post subject:   

I agree that the doctrine of proximate cause should be considered, however,I have been to seminars for major carriers where it is virtually ignored. Specifically wiith regards to earthquake, ensuing fire was deemed to be a covered loss even though the underlying proximate cause is earthquake. They also included glass breakage. I first encountered this ignoring of proximate cause in the 1970's while working a hurricane. Fences and awnings were not covered for the peril of wind back then However, if a tree was blown onto either, it was considered a falling object, which is covered. The claim was then paid.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:41 am   Post subject:   

In fire claims, there could be a number of factors that contribute to the proliferation of the fire, each of which could be deemed a proximate cause of the loss. For example, a gas line that is not installed or manufactured correctly might be more sensitive to an earthquake rendering it more susceptible to a fire than is necessary. Similarly, fire suppression equipment could also fail, allowing the fire to spread to a greater area tan had it been working. Recently, I litigated a case where a defective heater caused an electrical fire, on top of that defect an independent fire detection and sprinkler system also failed due to an installation defect, finally the electric company failed to notify the homeowner of abnormal spikes in usage in the preceding months which could have alerted them to the electrical problems with the heater. All three failures contributed to the loss, had any one event not occurred the loss could have been mitigated. This kind of illustration is not uncommon in fire claims. Typically more than one thing goes wrong. The point is, don’t just write off the cause of a fire as a natural disaster, have an expert take a close look at how and why the fire spread in the manner it did. There could be more than one proximate cause of the loss.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:05 am   Post subject:   

Quote:
Specifically wiith regards to earthquake, ensuing fire was deemed to be a covered loss even though the underlying proximate cause is earthquake.


Very true. If the house doesn't burn, but is otherwise destroyed by the earthquake, the insurer is going to be off the hook when the insured doesn't have a companion earthquake policy.



Matches -- a very important part of every earthquake survival kit.


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