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Homeowners insurance and explosions

We’re all used to the idea of fire as a major cause of damage to property. It’s easy for a fire to start accidentally and, unless you catch it at a very early stage, it can be difficult to stop it from spreading. In part, this is due to the amount of wood used in the construction of the modern home and also reflects the nature of the furniture and other contents. Not only do some older items of furniture burn fast, they also give off dangerous fumes. We like to tell ourselves that explosions are rare and so we do not need to worry so much.

The most common cause of an explosion is a gas leak. We often rely on gas for heating and cooking. It can be piped into the home from a central distribution facility, or we can bring bottles on to the land and store them close to the home. We therefore have two potential ways in which the gas can escape. The first is accidental damage to the pipes. Obviously, if a conventional fire starts, the heat can rupture the gas line and produce an immediate acceleration of the fire. There can also be damage from natural disasters affecting the home such as a tornado or earthquake. Once you have gas in the air, any nearby source of flame is going to explode the gas. Alternatively, a moment’s inattention means we fail to manage cooking with gas properly or a gas-fueled heater fails to light properly. If the build-up of gas is substantial, it can demolish your own home and damage all the other properties around it.

Assuming the explosion is an accident, all the owners will be able to claim on their own home insurance policies for repairs. It’s exactly the same as a tree falling though the roof. Whether the tree is in your own yard or a neighbor’s, your home is covered and the homeowners insurance pays out. This would be slightly different if the cause of the explosion was someone’s fault. In such cases, the remedy would be to recover losses from that person although, in the first instance, your own insurer should pay out.

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