Homeowners burned by insurer

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DEAR BARRY: Last winter, we had a house fire. The burn damage inside was relatively small, but the smoke damage was extreme. It was so bad that we had to move out for several months, and the drywall, insulation and floor coverings had to be removed from every room. While the house was unoccupied, the winter was unusually harsh, with ice on the inside and outside of the building. During this time, most of the windowpanes cracked, and the window frames no longer slide normally. The insurance company does not consider this to be part of the fire damage and is unwilling to pay for new windows. How can we convince it that the windows would not have broken if there hadn't been a fire? --Rebecca DEAR REBECCA: The insurance company is avoiding payment for window damage on the basis of a slim technicality. It claims that the fire did not directly damage the windows. That may be true, but the window damage is an outcome of the overall situation. While the house was stripped and unoc...