Fire damage can be devastating to a home and cause significant property damage and injuries. The most common form of fire damage are electrical fires, kitchen fires, candle fires, and wildfires. Wildfires have the potential to burn through millions of acres and engulf thousands of homes in flames. This is why homeowners insurance policies are responding by unleashing special coverage policies for different types of fire damage. The less common types are automatically covered on most homeowners insurance plans while seasonal fires tend to require special insurance. Depending on your location, this might reflect local price changes regarding fire coverage. This guide will explain the different levels of fire coverage on homeowners insurance.
Does home insurance cover fire? Yes, homeowners insurance covers accidental fires. If the fires are caused by owner negligence such as kitchen or candle fires, the homeowner will be held liable. If the fires are intentionally caused then they won’t be covered. Wildfires are excluded from standard coverage in states like California where policyholders must purchase their own fire insurance. Wildfire coverage can be purchased as an endorsement and it can cost more than $1,000/year. High-risk areas in close proximity to flammable forests and brush are the hardest to insure. The insurance company can even deny coverage if they feel the home is not secure enough.
Different Types Of Fire Damage
Fire damage can lead to a structural collapse and loss of life if it spreads too quickly. Thousands of fire incidents are recorded each year. While insurance will cover most accidental fires, you must check your local insurance policies to find out if you’re covered for wildfires. The following fire damage is covered:
Candles often cause fires because they can be easily tipped over and we use them everywhere from the living room to the bathroom. Many times pets knock over a candle when you’re not around and it ends up spreading everywhere in the home. If you experience an accidental candle fire in your home, you’ll be covered by homeowners insurance.
Electrical malfunctioning can lead to large fires in the home that can potentially spread to your neighbors. There are different types of electrical damage but the most common are power surges and short circuits.
If lightning strikes near your home, it can lead to a power surge in the power lines and end up blitzing your appliances at home and even causing fires. If your home uses outdated electric lines, this can lead to smaller fires throughout the home. These incidents are all covered by homeowners insurance.
Kitchen fires are very common and can spread even faster than candle fires. If you ever leave your oil on the stove by accident it can start burning and spread all over the kitchen. This is terrible in homes with gas ranges because the fire can lead to explosions.
Wildfires are extremely dangerous because they have the potential to destroy thousands of homes simultaneously. The average wildfire in California ends up burning over 100,000 acres of forest and many times this spreads to residential communities. While most people are evacuated on time, the fires still cause billions of dollars worth of damage. This is why they’re not automatically covered like the house fires.
If you want to be insured for wildfires, you’ll have to purchase separate wildfire coverage from your insurance company. This endorsement can be added to your policy. US citizens who live in the SouthWest of the country should have wildfire coverage, especially if they live near the forest or brush-fille canyons in the region. Small fires can develop into giant forest fires that not even the military can suppress, which is why you must have adequate coverage. The key here is timing. It’s impossible to purchase insurance after a fire is reported and you must do this when your home is not at risk.
Fire Insurance On HO-3 Policies: What Is Covered
Fire insurance coverage is a separate endorsement policy that can be added to your home insurance to supplement the policy for all fire-related damages. Note that this endorsement might take up to a month to activate after you purchase it. The following levels of coverage are included:
The home is entirely protected from fire damage. This is critical for residents of high-risk areas who might have to replace their whole homes due to a wildfire. If you live in such an area, make sure to increase the dwelling/structural coverage limit on your fire coverage because it may not be enough to match the current value of your home. If your home is worth $600,000, the fire damage insurance must equate to $600,000 or have a full replacement cost guarantee.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property is automatically covered on homeowners insurance policies. The coverage on your fire insurance will replace all personal belongings that were burnt down or damaged by ash. Many times people forget to insure their recreational equipment and workshop toys that cost thousands of dollars and regret it after they claim the full replacement cost for their home. If you hold valuables in your home, make sure to raise the personal property coverage to get insured for those.
Cost Of Living Coverage
Cost of living or loss of use coverage is only utilized if you have to move out when your home burns down. This will cover your living expenses such as lodging, food, transport, and other necessities. The insurance company has to pay for your accommodation if you have to move out of your home while it’s being repaired.
There’s also a level of liability insurance available on fire endorsements. This is only utilized if you cause a fire that spreads to a neighboring property. If the neighbor decides to take you to court as a result, you can use your liability insurance to pay for the legal fees.
Umbrella insurance is optional and can help you increase the limits on your liability insurance. Homeowners insurance has a degree of liability insurance coverage but you can increase the limits on your coverage if you feel that you might need it at a certain point.