House fires are some of the biggest threats to homeowners because they can happen anywhere in the world and be caused by almost anything. The thought of your entire home being destroyed by flames is terrifying, especially knowing that there is no way to truly prepare for that kind of disaster.
Aside from the average scenarios, house fires have started in very unexpected ways. For instance, a house fire in Hamburg Township was believed to have been started by a dog.
When the family was away, their dog jumped up onto the stove to find some food. During this movement, the knob of the stove was turned on, igniting a fire after coming in contact with nearby flammable items.
There are many other weird ways fires have started within homes. There is another story about a naked man in Florida who started a fire in his own home on accident. He was apparently trying to make cookies on the top of an open grill on the counter in his kitchen.
The only problem was that he left the cookies on the hot surface and forgot about them for a long time until they burned. As a solution, he threw a towel over the top and the kitchen was engulfed in flames not long after.
Causes Of Unexpected House Fires To Look Out For
Fires have indeed been started in unexpected ways. However, this does not necessarily mean that homeowners should be on the lookout for dogs or naked men within their homes. Instead, it is important to be aware of the potential causes of unexpected house fires that could be prevented before they progress.
Objects and habits that might seem normal in everyday life can actually become the source of a highly destructive problem if they are not paid attention to.
Here are some possible causes of house fires that might be right under your nose:
- Stoves and hotplates
- Electric appliances
- Lighting fixtures
As you can probably tell from the unusual house fire stories in the introduction, stoves, and hotplates are a huge culprit in many of these scenarios. If they are left on for too long, give off any sparks, or catch onto combustible objects nearby, it can be the start of a house fire within seconds.
The same thing goes for heating systems and electrical appliances. If not regularly inspected and properly cleaned, you could be dealing with a problem if temperatures get too high.
Exposed wires from lighting fixtures can cause the surrounding area to burst into flames if they are in close proximity. The same thing goes for flammable objects coming in direct contact with any light bulbs or other lighting sources.
The next few reasons on the above list are some of the most unexpected, because they seem to be the most normal. People who smoke cigarettes in their homes rarely think about their actions starting a fire, but it is a very possible scenario if they are left unattended.
This is similar to lighting candles. Although they can illuminate a room and even create a pleasant scent throughout the home, they can be very dangerous when left alone. Since a candle has an open flame on the top, it can easily catch onto other objects and start a fire.
Last but not least, children are probably some of the most unexpected causes of fires in homes. Without supervision, they tend to get very curious and go exploring through the house. If flammable objects and heating sources are left out in the open, even the smallest children can accidentally start a fire unintentionally.
How to Prevent House Fires
Despite all of the potential causes of house fires that we all live with every day, there are some preventative measures that can be taken in order to avoid loss and tragedy. Here are some things you can do as a homeowner to prevent house fires on your property to the best of your ability:
Test Safety Equipment
First and foremost, you should test all safety equipment that you have around the house pertaining to fires. This includes checking fire alarms and placing fire extinguishers in the rooms that you feel are at the highest risk.
Maintain Appliances and Heat Sources
With electrical appliances being some of the main sources of unexpected house fires, it is important to make sure they are maintained regularly. The necessary tasks range from cleaning out the lint in the dryer, clearing off the stovetop, and gaining a professional inspection for heating systems.
Check Cords and Wires
Along with keeping all of your appliances and heat sources clean and free of obstructions, you will also need to check cords and wires for any potential hazards. If anything is out in the open, you should consult with a professional to complete any repairs as necessary.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Above all, one of the best things that you can do as a homeowner to protect yourself against house fires is to be aware of your surroundings. This means that you should never leave the kitchen while you are cooking or leave a room without blowing out the candles. If you are always watching what’s around you, the likelihood of an accidental fire starting will decrease significantly.
Understand Fireplace Safety
If you have a fireplace, there should always be a barrier between the actual fire and the flooring in front of it. Just like a candle, you should never leave the room while a first is burning. Be careful while disposing of the ashes as well, you should always let them fully reach a cooled temperature before throwing them out in a non-flammable container.
Does Home Insurance Cover Fires?
There are many different types of coverages that can be included under a home insurance policy, especially when it pertains to house fires. Below are the three main categories of damages that may or may not be covered by your insurer, depending on the terms of your individual policy.
Personal property coverage protects any personal belongings that are located inside the home. This can apply to furniture, appliances, clothing, and any other physical objects that you have inside your house. Depending on how far your coverage goes, your insurance company may offer to repair or replace these items, fully or partially.
Dwelling coverage has to do with the structure of your home and anything that is directly attached to it. This essentially means that your insurance company will pay for any damages that are caused inside or outside your home as a result of a fire. For example, if the walls of your home are burned down, including any attached garages, dwelling coverage will take care of the repairs.
Detached structures, on the other hand, are areas that are not directly attached to the home. This can include detached garages or tool sheds that are located on the other end of the property. In the event that the fire reaches these structures, your insurance company would cover the costs of damages under detached structure coverage.
How To Prepare Yourself For a Potential House Fire
As you can see, house fires have been started in a number of unexpected ways and can appear at any time without warning. With that being said, there is no possible way to fully prepare for these events, since they can come from all angles.
While it is true that you can take steps toward preventing accidental house fires, you can never truly know what to expect when it comes to the unexpected. You can, however, take some steps toward preparing for something like this that is difficult to prepare for, to say the least.
Here are some things you can do to stay prepared for a potential house fire before you are affected:
Look over your home insurance policy
As a homeowner, one of the best things that you can do to protect your home is to have a great insurance policy in place. However, before you can rest assured that someone has your back in the event of an unexpected disaster, you will need to make sure that you are getting everything you need from your policy.
This can be done by sitting down with your insurance agent and going over everything that is covered. If you find that you need additional protection, you should make any necessary changes before the fire is started.
Take inventory of your home pre-fire
Taking inventory of your home to show its pre-fire condition is a great asset throughout the process of an insurance claim. To protect yourself, save all documentation and receipts that show the purchase of any personal items.
Even further, you should take photos and videos of your belongings, storing them electronically in a cloud so they can be accessed at any time.
Practice safety drills with your family
Before disaster strikes, your family should all be aware of where the fire extinguishers are located, how to use them, and how to escape the home in the event that a fire starts. Make sure everyone knows where to go by practicing routes and setting meeting places.
It would also be beneficial to teach the people you love how to spot a potential fire and how to prevent them before they get out of hand.
Consult with a public adjuster
Finally, you should build a solid relationship with a public adjuster to protect yourself before a fire is started. As professionals in the home insurance industry, public adjusters advocate for policyholders and communicate with the insurance company on their behalf.
Having a public adjuster is just like having a good lawyer. They will speak for you entirely, negotiate your settlement, and protect your rights throughout the entire process. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a house fire, your public adjuster should be your first point of contact.
What To Do After a House Fire
You can always try your best to prevent house fires from occurring, but they are an unpredictable disaster that can happen to anyone when they least expect it. If you experience a house fire, there are specific steps that you will need to take in order to pick up the pieces.
Call your public adjuster for a walkthrough
If you ever experience a fire in your home, the very first thing that you should do is call your public adjuster. Within 48 hours of discovery, your adjuster will walk through your property and assess the damages.
From there, they will decide what settlement amount is fair for the level of repairs that will be necessary. As a general rule, you should never contact your insurance company directly before speaking to your adjuster. Instead, let them handle all of the talking and trust the process until you receive your settlement.
Take inventory of your belongings
When it is safe to enter your home, you will need to separate the items that were damaged and destroyed by the fire from those that were untouched. This is something that will be done with your public adjuster, but you can remove undamaged items as soon as you discover them to prevent any further damage. If you have taken a photo or video inventory of your home pre-fire, it will come in handy in this situation.
Find a place to live temporarily
After you have put your public adjuster to work on your case, it will be time to focus on getting your life back together. If your home is destroyed and unable to be lived in, you will need to find a temporary place to live in the meantime. Fortunately, most insurance companies will cover the expenses that are required to stay in a hotel and eat until your home is fully repaired.
If your life has been disrupted and your home damaged by a fire, you need to reach out to a public adjuster. Bulldog Adjuster is the fastest growing public adjuster firm in the United States and we get you the biggest possible settlement from your insurance company! Reach out today!