Deck caught fire, contact insurance?

mike99gtAugust 18, 2008

I had a minor fire on my deck last night. It could have been a lot worse if we hadn't caught it when we did. The deck is about 35 years old, doesn't meet current codes and needed to be rebuilt before the fire. Wondering if I should contact insurance about this or just leave well enough alone. This would be my first claim on my policy but I've only been in the house 2 years. Worried the insurance company will raise my rates if were to file a claim. I've heard you can be red flagged just by calling and asking about a claim. If I pay for the deck I wouldn't be able to afford to rebuild until next year at the earliest. I could do some temporary repairs but not sure if this is a very good idea either. Advice? Thanks Mike

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how bad is it hurt? if it is structurally sound, jsut charred a little, then leave it for now and replace next year. if it is unsafe, tear it down NOW and wait til next year to replace it.

i would not call teh insurance since you were planning to replace it anyway. like you said, jsut ASKING about a claim cna harm your CLUES rating.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2008 at 10:50PM
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If there is any likelihood of someone getting hurt (falling through, etc) can you block off that area for now (however weird it might look through the winter)? You don't want to get sued on top of everything!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 6:28AM
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Do not call the insurance company.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 8:02PM
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after thinking about this i need to add that AFTER you replace the deck call your agent and inform him you have replaced the old non-compliant deck with a new code compliant deck. it may actually save you a FEW dollars on your premium.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 11:36AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I am leaning towards not calling the insurance company and will rebuild when possible. The damage was limited to a section of the railing & several pieces of decking. There is serious damage to a joist below which is completely gone. I will have a framer friend take a look and see if it's possible to make some repairs safely. If I did file a claim would I end up paying for the deck in the long run or would I just have to worry about future claims? This came at a bad time as I am working on a basement remodel and was planning to reside the house after that so there just isn't money in the budget right now for the deck. I guess since I would be residing that would be a good time to tear it down anyways. These projects seem never ending! Thanks, Mike

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 7:34PM
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I would seriously not call the insurance company. The damage sounds pretty minor and not overly expensive to fix up. Calling the company would raise a big flag and certainly open you to higher rates (no one can predict that for sure of course) and unless it really is a very expensive disaster I can't see the point of doing it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 10:13PM
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You have more to worry about than having your rates raised. Typically after a fire, your policy is cancelled. What's your deductible? Is it worth it to you?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 5:09PM
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I wouldn't report it to insurance. It may not be covered anyway. When we built a small patio off our back door, the contractor told us only decks and patios "attached" to the house are covered by insurance. People deliberately do not "attach" such things to avoid increases in premiums. Also, we nearly lost our house insurance several years ago because we filed four claims within a three year period, When it came time to renew the policy e were told we had "been sent to underwriting" and the policy may be cancelled. You don't want to run that risk!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:12AM
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Don't call insurance! It never leads to anything good.

I know this is only slightly related, but I called the insurance company when a very large tree limb fell from our tree and smashed into our neighbors house. It seemed like the responsible thing to do. Our insurance told us they they would not cover any damages to the neighbor's house because the tree was a 'healthy living tree' and the limb falling was an act of God. Then, about two weeks later, we received a notice in the mail that the insurance company had discovered a 'dead and decaying' tree in our yard (same friggen tree) and we must have it removed or they would not renew our policy. Nice huh?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 4:36PM
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gm, just for future reference if your tree falls across teh line, you are not responsible UNLESS you knew it was dead/dying and unsafe. your insurance still won't be responsible, just you. i know you were doing the neighborly thing but it was HIS job to contact his insurance for repairs.

very few locations in teh US stray from this, though i have heard that few local laws have it different.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 1:28PM
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yeah, I found that out the hard way. It sure seemed to me that if something on my property damages someone else's property, my insurance would be liable. For sure from now on I will always do some investigating first before calling insurance.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 1:23PM
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