How Common is Property Damage from Residential Fires in the United States?

Unexpected fires can be devastating to Texas homeowners. If your homeowners insurance company denies your legitimate claim for fire damage, you’ll need to schedule a legal consultation – as quickly as you can – with a Texas fire insurance lawyer.

If you have valuable items that are lost in a house fire, will your insurance company reimburse you? For most homeowners, your home is your most valuable asset, and you buy homeowners insurance to protect your home and your valuables in case something like a fire should happen.

The National Fire Protection Association tells us that, on average, one residential fire is reported every eighty-eight seconds in the United States. More than 350,000 residential fires are reported every year.

What Causes House Fires?

Wildfires are the most devastating fires in Texas because they threaten so many residents, homes, and businesses. However, residential fires have a variety of other causes as well. Cooking accidents, for example, are the most common cause of house fires.

House fires can also be caused by malfunctioning electrical devices, faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and defective space heaters and furnaces.

Can You Be Compensated for Valuables Lost in a Fire?

It is imperative to know what your homeowners insurance policy covers. Homeowners coverage typically extends to your personal belongings, and it usually compensates you for any of your valuables that are destroyed in a fire, up to your policy’s limit.

If you think you need more fire coverage for your valuables, you can increase your limit for personal property. Most homeowners policies also cover smoke damage. The scope of the damage to your home and your personal items will determine the value of your insurance claim.

Wildfires are not uncommon in cities like Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. ome homeowners in the path of wildfires have lost everything. According to the Texas Forest Service, in 2010 and 2011, wildfires destroyed four million acres along with hundreds of homes and businesses across Central Texas. In 2023 and 2024, Texas’ Governor issued a disaster declaration for the wildfires impacting 60 counties in Texas.

How Are Fire Damage Claims Handled?

After those fires, several insurance companies wrongly denied a number of fire damage claims and insisted that the losses were insignificant. In other fires, an insurance company may blame a homeowner and claim the owner was in some way negligent and thus responsible for the fire.

Most insurance companies require substantial proof that a fire was an accident and that the owner is not at fault for the damage. While this evidence can feel one-sided and hard to argue with, we encourage you to work with the insurance company as much as possible for your claim. In some cases, when an insurance company won’t pay a valid fire damage claim and can’t provide a reason why, the company is operating in bad faith.

If your property insurance company acts in bad faith, what is your recourse? Where can you turn? You will need to schedule a meeting immediately with a Texas fire insurance attorney who will discuss how the law applies to your case and your options for taking legal action.

What Problems Can Arise With Fire Damage Claims?

An insurance company also operates in bad faith if it does not make clear to a homeowner the extent of a policy’s limitations and exclusions before the policy is purchased. After a fire, you may have to deal with one or more of these typical problems arising from fire damage claims:

  1.  A dispute with the insurance company regarding precisely what is covered.
  2.  A dispute with the insurance company regarding the precise cause of the damage.
  3. Inadequate coverage for personal items that were damaged in the fire.

Before You Submit a Fire Damage Claim

Fire damage to your home and the loss of any valuable personal possessions in a fire should be comprehensively documented with photographs and/or video. You will probably be required to show the insurance company exactly how the fire damage happened and how the fire started.

You need to know your homeowners insurance policy. You should know the deadline for filing a damage claim and the other requirements of the policy. If you miss the filing deadline, or if you don’t ask for an extension of that deadline, your fire damage claim will be automatically denied.

When it receives your fire damage claim, your insurance company may ask you for more details. Provide everything you can. But after several months, if the insurance company is still asking you for information, and no payout has been offered, the company may be acting in bad faith.

When Will You Need an Attorney’s Help?

An honest difference of opinion regarding the value of a fire damage claim does not by itself constitute bad faith, but when an insurance company won’t negotiate with you, won’t make a payout, or gives you “the brush-off,” arrange at once to speak with a Texas fire insurance lawyer.

Merely hiring a Texas fire insurance attorney is sometimes all that it takes to settle the matter promptly. Once your homeowners insurance company knows that you have retained legal counsel, the company may proceed to handle your claim properly in order to avoid a lawsuit.

However, if you believe that your fire damage claim has been denied, delayed, or overlooked because your property insurance company is acting in bad faith, your lawyer may recommend bringing a lawsuit to win what you need to replace your lost valuables and repair your home.

Stormlex Law Group Fights for Texas Homeowners

If your claim for fire damage is wrongly denied, or if you’re a victim of insurance bad faith, your first consultation with a property damage attorney at Stormlex Law Group (Flores & Pelaez-Prada, PLLC) is provided with no obligation or cost. If you take legal action, we will represent you on a contingent fee basis.

This means you’ll owe no lawyer’s fee upfront and no lawyer’s fee until Stormlex Law Group recovers your payout. Most property insurance disputes are settled out-of-court, but if it’s necessary, we will ask a court to order your insurance company to meet its obligation to you.

If you believe your property insurance company is not treating you right after you’ve lost valuables in a residential fire, now or in the future, call the offices of Stormlex Law Group promptly at 1-855-STORMS-4 (or 1-855-786-7674).

Disclaimer: The blog posts shared on are intended for general informational purposes and may not apply to your specific situation. For personalized legal advice concerning your policy or claim, contact our office directly at 1-855-786-7674.