Fire departments respond to around 350,000 fires each year. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that in five years, 2013 to 2017, home fires caused an average of 2,620 deaths each year and about $6.9 million in property damage.
The average homeowners insurance claim for a fire is almost $80,000, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). While wind and hail, water damage and freezing, and other property damage are more common than fire claims, fire damage claims are the costliest.
Fires are frightening and can have a devastating effect on your home and personal property. Here is what you need to know about fire insurance and what you need to do to effectively protect your home and personal belongings:
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
Homeowners insurance covers your home and personal property and will pay to repair or replace your home and contents if they are damaged by fire. Since your house is likely your most valuable asset, it is critical to understand what your policy covers and how much protection it will provide.
What does fire insurance cover?
Homeowners insurance typically helps pay for replacement or repairs to your home, unattached structures on your property, and your belongings. Here are some of the details of the coverage:
- Dwelling coverage: If a fire starts in the kitchen and spreads throughout the house and into the attached garage, the fire insurance portion of your homeowners policy would cover the repairs’ cost. If you can’t live in the house while repairing or rebuilding it, homeowners insurance typically helps pay hotel and restaurant costs.
- Unattached structures: Often called “other structures coverage” in your policy, homeowners insurance covers those structures—detached garage, storage shed, and fences–that are not attached to your house.
- Personal property: Homeowners coverage protects your belongings from specific “perils,” and fire damage is one of those. Your clothing, appliances, and furniture are examples of personal property.
In addition to the standard coverages, your policy might help to replace trees and shrubs damaged or destroyed by a fire. Also, your policy might provide coverage for wildfire damage, depending on where you live.
How much fire insurance coverage do I need?
To come up with a figure for your dwelling coverage, you will need to find out how much it would cost to rebuild your house. The cost of rebuilding will probably not be the same as the price you paid for your home. Construction costs and home values generally increase over time, so you will need to find the cost of rebuilding at current rates. In most cases, your insurance agent can calculate your home’s replacement value.
Next, you will need to decide if your policy’s personal property limits are right for you. Most policies offer coverage equal to 50 percent of the dwelling limit. To determine if that is sufficient, take an inventory of your furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. to ensure that the standard limits provide enough coverage. You may have to purchase additional coverage for specific items such as art, jewelry, and collectibles.
Decide if you want a replacement or actual value policy. Replacement value policies allow the purchase of a new, comparable object, while actual value policies cover the lost items’ current value only. For example, a replacement value policy would likely provide $1,500 to replace a 10-year-old computer, while an actual value policy might give you $75 based on its depreciated value.
Does homeowners insurance cover every fire?
Homeowners insurance will probably not cover all types of fire damage. For instance, if you intentionally start a fire in your home, homeowners insurance will not cover the damage. If an act of war caused the fire, that is also excluded from coverage. Check with your agent to find out what is expressly excluded from your coverage.
Check in with one of our advisors for reliable assistance
The insurance professionals at White Cloud Insurance are here to help you choose the right homeowners insurance coverage. Whether you need a standard homeowners policy with fire insurance coverage or additional coverage for those valuable items, we can assist you. Use the convenient contact form, call us at 305-556-1488, or send us a message at email@example.com.