There’s a fire in my house, what should I do?

If there’s a fire in your house, insurance is the last thing you should be thinking about.

To put your mind at ease, fire losses are generally covered by any home insurance policy, as long as the fire wasn’t set on purpose (arson).

When you discover a fire:

  1. If you have any doubt about your ability to put out the fire, get out of the house:
    1. Make it your number one priority to get you and your family out of the house to safety.
    2. Don’t try to save your valuables, family pictures etc.
    3. Call 911 once you’re safe.
    4. Let the fire department do their best to contain the fire.
  2. If you have a working fire extinguisher, the fire is small and you’ve confirmed an escape route:
    1. Try to put the fire out.
    2. Make sure it’s completely out.
    3. Call 911 to be sure.
  3. When you and your family are safe, call your insurance company to start your claim.

I need a place to stay. Do I have coverage for that?

If your house is damaged to the point you can’t stay there anymore, your insurance covers alternate accommodations while it’s being repaired or rebuilt. We can help you with arrangements. You’ll be covered for a food allowance if you need to spend more than usual for meals while you don’t have access to your kitchen. The general rule is your accommodations and food should match your normal lifestyle.

What happens if my home is completely destroyed by fire?

If your house is completely lost to fire, your home insurance will pay to have it rebuilt as it was before the fire. All your personal possessions will be covered by a cheque for whatever the contents limit is in your policy. You generally won’t need receipts after the fire department confirms your home was lost to fire.

Did You Know?

When you buy home insurance, you will choose a cash limit for your contents. This is the maximum the insurer will pay you even if all your possessions are lost. The higher the limit, the higher your premium. The recommended amount if you don’t want to price out everything you own is $7,000 per room in the house, including bathrooms and the garage. If you have valuable items like antiques, collectibles, jewellery or more than $1,000 in cash, you need to insure those things separately.

What happens if only part of my home is damaged by fire?

If you have a fire that causes damage to only a part of your house, the insurance company we placed you with will arrange to check the safety of the building, and the cost of restoring your home to its previous state.

When you have a partial fire loss, make sure you create a list of all the personal things that were damaged or destroyed, along with their receipts if you have them. When it’s safe, try to take pictures of any damaged items.

Quick tip: Should I make a claim?

When you have a minor loss (under $5,000), you may want to think carefully before starting a claim with your insurance company. Unlike car insurance, your insurance company can raise your premium or refuse to renew your policy if you make too many claims, even if none of the claims are your fault (there is no determination of fault in a home insurance claim). Remember that insurance is there to protect you from losses that you can’t afford to deal with on your own. If you suffer a minor loss, try to calculate the cost, subtract your deductible, and then decide if it’s worth a claim. Especially if it’s not your first claim in the last five years, your premiums could go up dramatically.

If you have a claim, call us at 1-800-731-2228 or email us at We’re here to help you with the claims process if you need help.