One of the benefits of vinyl siding is that it is extremely durable. In fact, vinyl siding professionals say it is more durable than other types of siding. However, there is one thing that can cause damage to vinyl siding—excessive heat. A fire in a neighboring house can melt and damage your home's vinyl siding. Here's what you need to know if, or when, this happens to you.
Wait to file a claim until after the fire investigation is complete
Your neighbor's homeowners insurance may not accept liability if the fire is still under investigation. Therefore, it's best to wait to file a liability claim against your neighbor's homeowners insurance policy. The reason for this is because, even though the neighbor's house was on fire, their homeowner's insurance may not be liable if another party is found liable. For example, if a car caught on fire inside their garage, the car manufacturer may be liable for damages to your neighbor's home and your home. In the meantime, have several siding contractors give you estimates for new siding installation.
Contact the local fire investigator to ask them to inform you about when the investigation is complete so you can then ask for a copy of the report. Fire investigation reports are public documents that are available to anyone who requests them. The report will list the probable or definitive cause of the fire, which will give you an idea of who is liable for the damages to your home's siding. If you have any questions regarding liability after reviewing the report, forward the report to your homeowner's insurance company for their recommendation.
It's important to note that if the fire is found to have been due to natural causes or no party is found at-fault, your neighbor's insurance may not be found liable for damages to your home. Should this be the case, you may need to file a claim with your homeowner's insurance or pay to repair the siding out of pocket. Of course, this all also depends on whether or not fire damage coverage was included in the insurance policies to begin with.
Try to avoid filing a claim against your own homeowner's insurance policy
You could choose to file a claim with your insurance, your insurance company will likely attempt to subrogate the costs to the at-fault party. Subrogation is the legal right for an insurer to pursue monetary recovery from third parties who are found liable. However, if you file a claim against your homeowner's insurance policy, the claim would be listed on your CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange), which could cause your premiums to increase as you may be deemed as a fire risk. Additionally, you would have to pay any pre-set deductibles. With the combination of pre-set deductibles and the increase of future premiums, you may be better off replacing the siding out of pocket instead of filing a claim on your insurance policy.
Any out of pocket expenses that you pay, such as insurance deductibles or paying for the new siding installation yourself, may be recoverable from your neighbor through a civil lawsuit. This can also be an option if you are unable to pay a deductible or out of pocket for new siding installation, but waiting for a ruling on a civil lawsuit will take time that you may not have. If this is the only option for you, it's crucial for you to at least cover the damaged siding of your home with heavy-weight plastic sheeting to prevent water damage from occurring underneath the siding. A siding contractor can install temporary waterproof sheeting to cover the damaged siding until you are ready for siding installation. Visit a site like http://www.skerlec.com to start exploring your new siding options.Share