What Insurance Adjusters Look at When Assessing Fire Damage

A fire.

When fire damage happens to your home there is not 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 may look for. It is among these findings that will determine how much money, if any, you may be entitled to. The article that follows will provide a few of the things that an insurance adjuster will look for when assessing fire damage.

Initial Structural Damage

The first thing an insurance 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 does not mean it cannot 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 no reason for a demolition.

Downed Utilities

The fire company will usually come in after the fire and contact the utility providers to have them turn off electricity, water, and gas. It is 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 water pipes. All of these things can make a bad situation much worse. These things can also make the payout from the insurance company much more than if the integrity of the wires or pipes are still intact.

Entrance to the Basement

Assessing fire damage inside the home usually begins in the basement. As fire burns it does so upward. This makes the basement either the best location or the worse. Checking out the basement has one important factor: the floor. In order to make 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 checking 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 beams are destroyed it could cause the home to be condemned. The majority of the load-bearing walls need to intact in order to support the home. If some of the walls are not viable they can 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.