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A number of household items, such as grease or oven cleaners, may be considered "pollutants" by your insurance policy. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Analysis brought to you by the experts at FC&S Online, the unquestioned authority on insurance coverage interpretation and analysis for the P&C industry. To find out more — or to have YOUR coverage question answered — visit the National Underwriter website 

Question. I had a recent claim that was denied by Travelers as they are deeming smoke from a fire as a pollutant. Therefore, any resultant cleanup is not a covered claim because it falls under the definition of a pollutant. Our insured is a contractor who installs appliances on behalf of Home Depot and other retail outlets. They installed a range in a home and turned it on to burn off any excess, and told the homeowner to leave it on for 30 minutes. However, the insured forgot to remove a cardboard box, which contained a part for the oven, from the oven. The cardboard box caught fire, filling the house with smoke. Home Depot replaced the damaged stove after the incident (not at our insured’s cost). The homeowner is now requesting coverage for smoke damage to drapes and furniture, as well as duct cleaning and wall painting.

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