Written by Andy Gurczak

August 27, 2023

Salvageable v. Non-Salvageable Property After a Fire

If a fire has occurred at your home, your first concern, of course, is the safety of yourself and your family. However, depending on the extent of the fire damage, you will have to resolve the issue of salvageable v. non-salvageable property after a fire.
Homeowners’ insurance protects your home itself (Dwelling Coverage) and its contents (Personal Property Coverage). Certainly, high heat, smoke and soot can cause extensive damage to your personal property. For example, the fire can damage clothes, furniture, hardwood floors and appliances.
Indeed, exposure to smoke causes fabrics, clothes and soft goods to reek of the smell of smoke. Additionally, smoke and soot can discolor objects. Moreover, they can reduce the life span of electronics and machinery.
Consequently, you and your insurance company will have to determine which personal property is salvageable v. non-salvageable property after a fire.

What Types of Damage Does a Fire Cause?

Fire can inflict a multitude of devastating damages to property. The most immediate and obvious impact is the destruction of structures and their contents, including homes, businesses, and possessions. The intense heat from a fire can weaken or even melt structural elements like beams and walls, leading to the collapse of buildings. Smoke, a pervasive byproduct of fires, can infiltrate and corrode materials, leaving behind unsalvageable soot and residue. Additionally, the water used to extinguish flames can cause extensive water damage, often leading to mold growth if not promptly addressed. Beyond these physical effects, fires can also have long-term consequences, devaluing property, disrupting communities, and, tragically, causing injury or loss of life. Distinguishing between salvageable and non-salvageable property becomes a critical consideration in the aftermath of such disasters.


The flames of a house fire can damage any object it touches. For example, fire-damaged items can include clothing, furniture, wall coverings and appliances. The heat of the flames can melt plastic and warp other household items.

Smoke Damage

Smoke and soot are small particles of carbon. And they can spread over a greater area than the parts of the house touched by actual flames. In fact, smoke and soot particles can work their way into porous surfaces and inside electronics and appliances. In addition, they are also a health hazard. Therefore, a fire restoration company and/or professional cleaners may have to be hired. Certainly, they will have to completely remove smoke and soot particles from clothing, drapes, furniture, etc. if those items are to be salvaged.

Water Damage

Of course, if firefighters respond to the fire, they will use water to put the flames out. Therefore, that means that a professional restoration service will have to be hired. The company will specifically remove all the water used by the firefighters.
Indeed, this may mean setting up high-volume fans and structural drying dehumidifiers to dry rugs and carpeting.

They will also air out the interior of walls and ceilings, etc.
Additionally, firefighters sometimes use foam to put out the flames. Consequently, the restoration service will have to remove any chemical residue from the firefighting foam.


Wherever there is water, there can be mold. And mold can cause property damage. In addition, mold is a health hazard. Consequently, to prevent mold, the restoration company must dry out and disinfect the areas of the home touched by water.

Who Decides Which Property is Salvageable v. Non-Salvageable?

In many instances, the decision of whether or not a damaged item is salvageable is easy. For example, any clothing, curtains, furniture, etc., which are touched by flames is most likely non-salvageable. In that instance, the items should be declared a total loss.
On the other hand, if flames did not touch those items, they may be salvageable. As a result, they can be professionally cleaned to remove smoke and soot residues.
As another example, glass and non-porous surfaces may also be salvageable.
Conversely, if soot and smoke got inside a computer, television, washing machine, etc., they may be non-salvageable.
Furthermore, soot and smoke spoil perishable food, cosmetics and medication. Consequently, they are not salvageable.
In conclusion, if there is a dispute over whether a particular item is or is not salvageable, the side with the strongest argument should win.

Consequently, If You Need a Public Adjuster to Help You Decide What is Specifically Salvageable After a Fire, Call AllCity Adjusting

In conclusion, we are a family-owned claims company with five decades of combined adjusting experience. Consequently, if there’s one thing we understand, it’s that you need 100% of your claim value. Certainly, fires and smoke often cause substantial damage to homes. Indeed, you have probably put a lot of work into determining the amount of the loss. Moreover, you have filed a damage claim and proof of loss.

In addition, you provided the carrier with supporting documents and photos of your damaged property.

But now you are arguing with the adjuster for the insurance carrier over whether fire-damaged salvage items can be properly cleaned. Or you may want to declare the items a total loss, but the adjuster disagrees.
Therefore, hire AllCity Adjusting as your public adjuster. We are experts in all types of property damage claims. AllCity has handled fire damage claims hundreds of times. Consequently, we can inspect the damage to your personal property.
In addition, we can help you decide what is salvageable v. non-salvageable property after a fire.
And if the insurance company doesn’t agree, we’ll make the case for you.
To sum up, don’t get fooled, get the company that gets you more. Call us today at 844.692.3587 or visit our website to find an office near you.

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At AllCity Adjusting we help residential and commercial clients alike get the claims support they need. Moreover, we have over 50 years of combined experience helping get our clients the max settlement time and time again. If your claim has been low balled or denied entirely we can help increase your maximum settlement. Call us today for a FREE consultation. Experience the AllCity difference.

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