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Fire on La Palma – Burnt Houses and the Role of Insurance

Fire in la palma burnt houses and the role of insurance

In this post we give some practical advice on how to resolve the consequences of the fire in La Palma and to claim for a burnt house through your insurance.


In the Aridane Valley it still smells of smoke, a penetrating smell that enters through the nose and reaches the soul, which will never be forgotten. Never thought something like this could happen. A raging fire that mercilessly tore apart houses, farms, cars, fields, orchards… from El Paso to the Valley. A fire that, on a day like today, from one moment to another, forever changed the lives of the residents of the Valley.


Financial chaos for many families

For those who did not have insurance or had poorly insured their property, must now face financial chaos . Credit facilities with special conditions may be available, but the ideal is to have each risk correctly insured, in this way we will be calm knowing that the insurance company will take care of everything..


Fire Claims – the most complex to process

Fire claims are the most complex that exist, they have long resolution periods (the average is around two years) and if they are not well managed they can cause many problems and headaches. Of course, if you don’t have the help of a professional insurance broker, my first advice is: hire a good lawyer.


If your broker or agent is professional, they will be knowledgeable about insurance law and will undoubtedly help you process your claim correctly, since they have the appropriate training and experience to know how to deal with experts, companies and lawyers correctly.


In these cases, it is always better to have an insurance broker than an exclusive agent, since the latter has its interests aligned with the insurer and not necessarily with the client. On the other hand, they do not always have sufficient training or experience to deal with cases of this dimension. Many of them are dedicated only to sales and forget about customers when there are claims. Forget taking out your policy with the bank or online, because in the event of an accident they will not provide you with the appropriate service.


There are a series of legal tools that your insurance broker can activate and implement to defend your interests as a client:

  • the right to cross-examination

  • external adjuster

  • the different deadlines to request an advance (or several) on account of the final compensation

  • support your lawyer with the correct articles of law

  • request financial support in case of uninhabitability of the home

  • verify all the documentation that they are requesting and advise you on what you should or should not submit

  • etc.



Be careful with the documentation that the experts ask for

One of the fundamental roles that your mediator will have is the review of the documentation that the company’s experts will ask you for . Especially if your insurance broker works together with your lawyer, they will defend your interests knowing perfectly how to choose which documentation you must sign and provide or which may constitute a reduction of your rights.



Practical advice for those who have suffered losses in the La Palma Fire
  1. If you have a professional insurance mediator who has in-depth knowledge of insurance law, they will inform you of your rights and what steps to take .

  2. But if you have your policy with an unprofessional agent, such as a bank or online, don’t wait another day, hire a lawyer now and change mediators.

  3. If your burnt house is declared a total loss due to a fire with large reconstruction capital, hire a lawyer to handle the negotiation with the insurer.

  4. Most home insurance policies have a capital destined for uninhabitability, that is, if you cannot stay in your home, the insurance will pay you for a hotel or rental apartment while your house is in the reconstruction phase (check the limits in your general conditions).

  5. Request an advance on account of the final compensation. The law defines that, 40 days after declaring the claim, you have the right to a minimum sum, but you must negotiate a more robust amount, without this affecting the right to the total sum.

  6. Think about activating the right to counter-expertise, it is important to have your rights safeguarded and be careful with the response times.

  7. In case you do not want to rebuild the property, you have the right to negotiate compensation with the insurer at the real value of the house (normally it is well below the compensation value in case of reconstruction) but at least you know that you have that right.

For those who have not suffered losses, but want to live in peace:


  1. This is the time to rescue your home policy, sit down with an insurance broker and review the capital and coverage. It is true that many policies have an automatic revaluation of capital, but if the policy is poorly done from the beginning (the insured capital is low), in the event of an accident the person may find himself underinsured. This means that, for having insured the property with values ​​lower than reality, you will receive a reduced compensation in the percentage of the underinsurance that you have determined.

  2. Every year, do a photo session of the exterior of your house and the interior, so that in situations of this type it is easier to verify the existence of the different elements of the content and the construction qualities of the house, gardens, swimming pools and annexes. if you had them Save the photos in a Cloud. If you buy valuables, save the invoices in a Cloud.



Now, it’s time to reflect and advise you on the best way to be prepared and well insured in case something similar happens again.

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