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Fire Damage and Insurance Adjusters

November 19, 2012 | Blog

When fire damage happens to your home there isn’t much you can do about it except recover from the hardship. Insurance companies are in place to help us pick up the pieces and move on. When it comes time to assess fire damage, there are several things that an insurance adjuster looks for. Its among these findings that will determine how much money, if any, you are entitled to. The article that follows will provide a few of the things that an insurance adjuster will be looking for when assessing fire damage.

Initial Structural Damage

The first thing an adjuster will do when assessing fire damage is to check the structural integrity of the building. You cannot know from just a simple glance if the building is able to be repaired. They will, however, be able to get a rough estimate of what the external physical cost may be. Just because the structure is damaged on the outside doesn’t mean it can’t be rebuilt. They will see if the fire damage has destroyed windows, doors, or if there are holes in walls or if there is roof damage. All of these things can be repaired and are not reason enough to demolish.

Downed Utilities

The fire company will usually come in after the fire and contact the utility providers to have them turn off electric, water, and gas. Its not uncommon for a utility to fall through the cracks and remain live. Within the wreckage of the home may be broken gas lines or downed electrical lines and even broken pipes. All of these things can make a bad situation worse. These things can also make the pay out from the insurance company much more than if the integrity of the utilities is still intact.

Entrance to the Basement

Assessing fire damage inside the home usually begins in the basement. As fire burns, it goes upward. This makes the basement either the best or the worst location in the whole home. Checking out the basement has one important factor – the floor. In order to make these repairs as well as assess fire damage throughout the home – the floor needs to be solid. They will look at the floor from below and check out the joists. If they are untouched, then the assessment can continue, otherwise the joists will need to be shored up.

Load Bearing Walls

The most important thing that an insurance adjuster will look at is the walls that support the home. If the drywall is destroyed, that’s not a big deal, but if the beams are destroyed, it could cause the home to be condemned. The majority of load bearing walls need to be intact in order to support the weight of the home. If some of the walls are not viable, they could be supported and later replaced.


Filing an insurance claim includes being reimbursed for personal possessions. An insurance adjuster will do a quick look at the damaged property. They will compare these items to a master list they have, with the claim.


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