Weaver Fire: Will insurance pay for evacuation costs?

Fire damage is easy to see, but the potential for smoke damage is harder to assess.

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina – The Weaver fertilizer plant fire in Winston-Salem could have insurance implications for people, even if they don’t live within the evacuation radius of a mile. Smoke and smell move.

RELATED: Winston-Salem Fertilizer Plant Fire Updates, Emergency Evacuation and Shelter Information

The 80-year-old factory caught fire on Monday evening with 600 tons of ammonium nitrate.

Christopher Cook of Alliance Insurance Services says the potential for smoke damage should be in your mind.

“The possibility of smoke damage may linger there. I mean, you know the damage if the fire spread to your house, you could see it, but smoke damage isn’t as easy to assess. Smoke damage to personal property or inside your home is covered by your policy,” Cook said.

As for those people in the evacuation zone, many of them have
expenses they hadn’t planned for, hotel stays, dining out, buying necessities they had to leave behind. So, does your insurance cover this? It can be tricky.

“It will depend on the contract you have, the insurance company. Think about it, in hurricane situations we usually don’t see any evacuation expense, in wildfire situations they do. In this particular situation, it’s neither,” Cook said.

Cook says documentation is key, always save your receipts so you can submit them to your insurance.

Smoke and fire damage, even if the problem didn’t start in your home, is covered, but should you pay the deductible if it wasn’t your fault?
Cook says if your insurance company finds the company liable, the insurance company can sue the company. If the company pays, you will get your deductible back.

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