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Smoke damage claims and insurance

These are a few photos from a fire in Sussex. I am managing their insurance claim, helping them make sense of the devastation they encountered and making sure that the insurers play ball!

Mr left the home and put the dishwasher on. When he returned the front windows were grey and initially he though he had not opened the curtains. Opening the front door he was greeted with impossible and overwhelming smoke – but he did the right thing – he shut the door and called the fire brigade. Thankfully they attended and the fire was extinguished swiftly – however the damage to their home is considerable, but not unusual.

The actual fire damage caused is minimal, but the smoke throughout the property is devastating. The photos above illustrate the density of smoke – and this is on the first floor. The cause of the fire was a faulty dishwasher, which ignited and caught fire. The dense plastic caused little actual fire scorching but allowed the dangerous carbons to fill the house.

We have agreed that an initial clean would be required to remove the surface carbons, a staged strip out to examine concealed areas and the contents to be evaluated – although most of these are beyond saving!

Once completed we will introduce a surveyor to produce a full schedule of works for tender.

Often, invasive smoke damage is overlooked when the fire damage is minimal. Here we have open floorboards, cladding and a huge loft space. There is also partitioned walls and insulation filled ceilings. All these areas will have been contaminated in some way, but without due diligence and in a a rush to complete the work, these are often missed. In hot weather, the smoke damage starts to permeate back through the concealed areas and it causes the householder a headache.

My view is – get this right first time and force insurers to listen to the experts!

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