Wildfire & Fire Insurance 101: Home Insurance in High Fire Risk Areas

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Wildfire & Fire Insurance 101: Home Insurance in High Fire Risk Areas

With wildfires raging throughout California and parts of the western United States , volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, and crazy storms, people are more concerned than ever about what their fire insurance covers. A fire can easily destroy your entire home, burn your possessions, and even severely injure or kill your loved ones.

Although you should always do your best to follow proper fire safety protocols, sometimes nature is an unstoppable force and accidents do happen. This is why it's always a good idea to have a solid home fire insurance policy that covers any physical losses and property damage so that you don't have to start your life over at square one.

In the event of forest fire or when wildfire erupts, home fire insurance coverage will protect your property from any loss or damage that is caused by fire. 

Home insurance companies will cover your loss and reimburse any costs to repair damages to your house.

As long as you're insured, you'll be able to get your life back on track, purchase a new home, replace lost items, and even receive additional compensation. Like most insurance policies, you'll usually have to pay a small deductible, but this will be minimal compared to the replacement value of everything destroyed by the fire.

If you're looking for cal fire insurance or some other  homeowners insurance in fire prone areas that includes  wildfire insurance coverage, you're at the right place. Here you can also compare cheap fire insurance quotes online.

How Does Fire Insurance Work?

Whenever you purchase a building, you'll typically want to purchase some type of property insurance along with it. This ensures that your new building is protected against certain out-of-control natural disasters such as fire or water damage that can occur.

If you got a mortgage on the house or building, then most lenders and banks  require  that you take out at least a basic insurance policy. This ensures that their investment (that they technically still own) is protected even if you have yet to fully pay it off.

The insurance company will compensate the lender for any unpaid damages and you'll also get a considerable chunk of change to pay for destroyed items, temporary living, food costs, and whatever portion of the loan you've paid off.

If you own the property outright, then you'll receive 100% of the policy payout.

What Does Fire Insurance Cover?

If your house burns down, fire insurance policies are designed to cover the destruction of personal property caused by fires. Most insurance companies bundle fire insurance with general home insurance policy, especially if you live in a high risk, fire-prone area.

Here is a comprehensive list of some of the costs covered by a standard fire insurance policy.

Property Destruction

First and foremost, your insurance is designed to cover the loss of your home or other insured buildings. For many people, their most valuable possession is their house.

However, fire insurance will also cover personal items such as furniture, electronics, collectibles, and more. As long as you claim these items on your policy, then they should all be covered when it comes time to collect your payout.

Just keep in mind that as you add new items to your house, you may need to call your insurance provider and provide them with details so that they have a record of the item being in your house.

Smoke Damage

Sometimes a fire may not destroy the entire building and will just be contained to a certain room. However, the smoke damage caused by the fire can spread into the walls and ceilings, compromising the integrity of the structure. Fire insurance coverage typically covers any cleaning and repair expenses due to smoke-related damage.

Personal Injury

If you (the policyholder) are injured while on the insured property, then you'll be eligible for a payout for personal damages and to help pay any medical bills.

Lightning Damage and Explosions

Although rare, lighting and random gas tank explosions can happen. Although most policies cover it, double-check to make sure that your insurance plan covers these- especially if you live in a particularly hot area or a location that experiences frequent lightning storms.

Food And Lodging

After losing everything, most people have to rent a hotel or second house. They also may need to pay extra money eating out. Thankfully, your insurance company should pay for all of these related costs.

What Fire Insurance Doesn't Cover...

There are a couple of things that are excluded from the insurance policies.

Your Vehicle

It's not uncommon to lose your car or motorcycle during a house fire if it was in the yard or parked in the garage. However, these are usually not covered. You'll have to seek compensation for your vehicles through your auto insurance policy.

If The Home Was Vacant

If the property was left vacant for over a month, many standard insurance policies will refuse to cover the costs. They'll try to say that the fire was caused by negligence that could have been prevented if the owner would have been there.

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Is Fire Insurance Covered by Home Insurance?

Although many homeowners insurance policies do include a small amount of fire damage coverage, this is usually designed for small accidents, not full-scale disasters.

If you want to make sure that your belongings and home are fully covered after a fire, then you'll need to have a proper fire insurance policy. This is usually considered an "add-on " under your existing insurance plan.

Most insurance companies bundle fire insurance with general home insurance, especially if you live in wild fire prone area.

How To Protect Your House From Wildfires? 

Please follow these steps to protect your home or your property from fire:

  • Make sure the 100 to 200 feet surrounding your house are clear of debris and flammable materials or objects to create a 'safe zone'
  • Block any exterior vent and rooftop openings, even your doggy door, with hardware to prevent embers from getting out and putting your whole interior on fire!
  • Fireproof your roof by making sure it is not made out of flammable material (asphalt shingle, metal, tile or slate roof) and if it is - spray it with fire retardant or install fire sprinklers
  • Protect the 5 feet surrounding your house: Make sure there are no propane tanks and firewood stacks which can become a serious threat in case a fire breaks out, maintain your lawn and clean out dead vegetation - any flammable material must be moved away for your own good! 
  • Make sure you have fire extinguishers, alarm system and sprinklers in easily accessible places for emergencies
  • Always use fire-resistent material when building or rennovating your home
  • Get a good home fire insurance coverage to stay on the safe side

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How Much Does Fire Insurance Cost?

The additional premium charges for your fire insurance property coverage vary, depending on your zip code. The average monthly premium charge is around $120 a month, though. This is closely correlated with the average damage claim amount, which is around $80,000 per claim .

Read more: Cheap Home Insurance Quotes

Do I Need Fire Insurance if I Have Renters Insurance?

If you are renting, then your landlord is required to have property insurance. In the event of a fire, your renters insurance will cover any of your personal losses.

How To Deal With an Insurance Adjuster After a House Fire

Although your insurance adjuster may seem a bit cold and uncaring, that's their job so don't let it get to you. Here are a few quick tips to help you deal with an insurance adjuster in the event that you suffer a house fire.

  • File your insurance claim as soon as the fire happens.

  • Take a detailed inventory of all items lost and all items that could be saved.

  • Request a payout advance so that you have money to pay for immediate expenses (food, water, shelter, transportation).

  • Keep receipts for every purchase or cost.

  • Be patient. You will get your money.

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