It is a rule of law that in actions on fire policies, full regard must be had to the causa proxima. If the proximate cause of the loss is fire, the loss is recoverable. If the cause is not fire but some other cause remotely connected with fire, it is not recoverable, unless specifically provided for. Fire risks do not cover damage by explosion, unless the explosion causes actual ignition, which spreads into fire. The cause of the fire is immaterial, unless it was the deliberate act of the insured.
Steps to be taken in fire insurance claims
- It is the duty of the insured, or any other person on his behalf, to give immediate notice of fire to the insurance company so that they can safeguard their interest, such as, deal with the salvage, judge the cause and nature of fire and assess the extent of loss caused by the fire.
- Failure to give notice may avoid the policy altogether.
- The insured is further required by the terms of the policy, to furnish within the specified time, full particulars of the extent of loss or damage, proof of the value of the property and if it is completely destroyed, proof of its existence.
- Delivery of all these details to the company is a condition precedent to the claim of the assured to recover the loss. If the assured prefers a fraudulent claim, whether for whole or part of the policy, he would forfeit all benefits under the policy, whether or not there is a condition to this effect in the policy. Generally, the fraud consists in over -valuation, but over-valuation due to mistake is not fraudulent. In a majority of fire insurance claims, the expert assessors of the company are able to arrive at mutually acceptable valuation.