With wildfires decimating vast areas of California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana and dozens of homes destroyed as a result, many homeowners are wondering if they have enough fire protection.
Fire is the one threat that can destroy your home completely and all your possessions inside. And fire is a fast worker; from a small spark to an uncontainable inferno in a matter of minutes.
Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows Structural fires continue to destroy homes with depressing regularity. And fires are still fatal with the most fire fatalities occurring in home fires.
The sad truth is that residential fires aren’t all that rare. Apart from wildfires, there are many causes for house fires, ranging from food left unattended on the stove to candles left burning to lightning strikes.
Everyone would prevent fires if they could. No one wants to deal with the destruction fires cause and it’s essential that homeowners protect their property with the right insurance coverage.
Standard home insurance
If you own a home, your mortgage provider would have required you to buy a home insurance policy. In that case, your home is probably covered for fire damage. Standard home insurance policies normally include cover for an assortment of perils including fire protection.
While a standard policy will protect the structure of your home, it will also cover the contents inside it. Movable assets like furniture, electronics and other personal possessions will be included.
Then there is “loss-of-use” cover which many policies also include. This cover will apply when the home is uninhabitable due to a covered claim. While your home is being rebuilt or repaired, you can be reimbursed for extra living expenses.
If you are renting, the landlord will most likely have cover, including fire protection, for the building itself. A standard renter’s policy will provide coverage and fire protection for your personal belongings.
Dwelling fire coverage
Dwelling fire coverage is less comprehensive than standard home insurance or a renter’s insurance policy.
Although dwelling fire coverage protects the building itself and other structures on the property, and offers loss-of-use cover, it usually doesn’t include protection for your belongings, and gives no personal liability protection
Dwelling fire coverage generally is best used as fire protection for a vacation home or vacant house.
How’s your fire protection
You may already be covered for fire damage but it will depend on what type of property insurance you have in place. In any event, it is always better to be sure.
Insurance providers offer different coverage options, so it’s a good idea to go over the details of your policy to see what kind of protection you have. Fire protection is so important because fire is a destroyer and the average fire claim – from the Insurance Information Institute – is over $37,150.
Prevention is best
Fire protection starts at home, which is why you need to prepare yourself with fire safety know-how. Installed smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers are all invaluable in case of fire and can prevent a small fire from turning disastrous.
Outfitting your home with fire safety equipment can even help you save money on your home insurance costs. A lot of insurance providers will offer discounts to those who have smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in their homes.
Another important step is to teach your family about fire safety in general. Everyone should be aware of potential fire causes and there should be an evacuation plan in place. The NFPA has a fire safety information section that is full of useful tips for keeping your family and your home safe from fire.