In Case of Fire: How Do Insurance Companies Define Arson?

Posted on February 15, 2024


Hayden Haskins | author

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ICHQ | Site Author

In Louisiana, fire damage claims are sometimes denied over accusations of arson. Insurance usually does not cover fires due to arson. It’s a policy exclusion that some insurers try to abuse.

Insurance companies may falsely accuse someone of a criminal act since arson usually isn’t covered by insurance. It’s rare, but an accusation may happen to you.

If you have a valid claim over an accidental fire and need to fight the insurance company for compensation, contact a fire damage claim attorney. Our lawyers represent New Orleans and Louisana homeowners in the off-chance an insurer claims that arson doesn’t cover their fire losses.

Does Insurance Cover Arson?

No, arson is not covered by fire insurance, but only if you committed the act. Arson means something specific here in Louisiana — it is when you intentionally try to set fire to your house.

Keep in mind that arson by others is a possibility. Sometimes an ex, an angry coworker, or a hateful person may set fire to a home. However, if you had nothing to do with the fire and did not ask the individual to set it, the insurance company is going to have a hard time denying the fire insurance claim.

The Difference Between Arson and Accidental Fires

Very few people actually try to set fire to their house, and it makes sense. People need somewhere to live.

Generally speaking, your insurance company is not going to assume that you committed arson. This is an important point. Sometimes a fire will be your fault, but it’s nothing intentional. The reality is that fires are caused by accidents, and accidents do happen. There are many accidental causes of fire, just as there are many reasons a person would be motivated to intentionally burn down a home.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Arson Claims?

Yes, insurance companies will try to use the right they have to deny claims for arson as a reason to not pay you. You might hear this referred to as the “arson clause” or “arson defense”. It’s one of the primary ways to deny a fire claim in Louisiana.

Insurance companies will look for a reason you might want to burn your house down. They may ask about your emotional state, your finances, and whether you previously filed for bankruptcy.

What Role Do Insurance Companies Play in Arson Cases?

When you report a fire loss to your insurer, the insurance company will conduct an investigation into what caused the fire. They may work with state law enforcement and fire investigators and learn if these authorities believe arson played a role.

Insurance companies conduct their own investigations in which they must prove a homeowner or another person committed arson. Even if someone isn’t criminally convicted of arson, an insurance company has a lower standard of proof in a civil arson case based on preponderance of the evidence. They need to prove you alone set the fire and had a motive.

Basically, it’s not your job to convince a jury that you didn’t commit arson. As long as you’ve paid your premiums and submitted a valid claim to cover your losses, it’s your insurer’s job.

The reality is it’s very hard to prove someone set their own fire intentionally, and wanted to destroy everything they loved. Most people aren’t cold, callous, or desperate for money that they are willing it destroy their entire life. It very rarely happens.

Have You Been Accused of Arson By the Insurance Company?

Home insurance companies may accuse you set your house on fire, with no solid evidence, as a way to deny your initial claim. Even if the government’s investigation into a fire ruled out foul play, homeowners insurance companies may still raise suspicions of arson.

While it sounds scary when the word “arson” or “special investigation” is thrown around by your insurance company, this is an unnecessary reaction. Get an attorney and let him or her guide you through the process of a fire insurance claim. Don’t be scared by the insurance company’s accusations of arson — get help!

You may need to have an independent investigator review the origin of your home’s fire even after the initial fire report was filed.

Our homeowners insurance claim lawyers have had the privilege of representing people affected by fires. In several of these claims, the insurance company has at least implied that the homeowner intentionally set fire to his or her own home. In each one of those cases, that implication has gone nowhere.

Contact a Fire Insurance Claim Lawyer Serving New Orleans

If you’ve been accused of arson by your insurance company, and fear they may refuse to cover your fire loss, our team is here to provide you with answers, advice, and help.

Our home insurance lawyers serving New Orleans and Louisiana have represented thousands of homeowners. We are committed to serving you and helping you ensure that you are represented in dealings with the insurance company and your claim is protected.

Call our team at Insurance Claim HQ. Schedule a free consultation online or call us today.

Arson Case FAQs

Why doesn’t insurance cover arson?

Arson is a criminal act, and insurance companies write their policies to exclude deliberately set fires. Otherwise, fraudsters would be able to collect insurance despite breaking the law.

How is arson investigated?

Local, state, and sometimes even federal government agencies may participate in an arson investigation. First responders to a fire may relay unusual things they’ve seen to investigators, whose job it is to document the scene for strange burn patterns, the presence of accelerants, and tampered utilities.

Does fire insurance cover arson?

Fire insurance policies will not cover fires that are set on purpose, only accidental losses.