What Is Fire Insurance?
Most standard home insurance policies provide coverage in the event of a fire. This includes accidental fires -- like candle fires, grease fires, electric fires, etc. -- as well as wildfires. Note that fires set intentionally or due to acts of war are not typically covered.
However, if your home is in a fire zone, it may be difficult to find standard home insurance with fire coverage. In such cases, you typically need to purchase a separate fire insurance policy.
Home Insurance for Accidental Fires
One way to protect yourself and your home from fires is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions ahead of time. Here are some examples of accidental fire types that can occur and how you can help minimize risk:
- Electrical fires: Fires sparked by faulty outlets or electronics are unfortunately common. Always keep your home’s electronics up to date to help prevent electric fires.
- Kitchen fires: Whether it’s from walking away while something is in the oven or accidentally allowing grease to catch on fire, kitchen fires can easily occur. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Remember to never leave a running fire unattended and to always supervise any children in the kitchen.
- Candle fires: As nice as a candle can be for creating a pleasant atmosphere, candle fires happen quickly. Always keep candles away from fabric and far from the table or counter ledge, and only burn them while you are nearby. Do not fall asleep with lit candles.
Update Your Fire Equipment
You can mitigate the risk of your home catching fire by ensuring your fire equipment is up to date.
First, keep a fire extinguisher in a safe and accessible place. If you already have one, get a replacement if it is expired. Next, install smoke detectors in every room in your home, including hallways. Don’t forget to install one in the basement if you have one. If you already have smoke detectors, be sure to change the batteries the day they start beeping. Fire alarms combined with a sprinkler or extinguisher system are also excellent at minimizing the chance of a fire devastating your home. If you can afford a sprinkler system, consider installing one.
In addition to the peace of mind, you can also enjoy saving on your home insurance with fire safety equipment discounts.
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Home Insurance for Wildfires
It is estimated that over 72 million homes are at risk for wildfires. Most of these homes are in the western states -- such as California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, New Mexico, Montana, and Utah -- but can include others, like Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida as well. With drought conditions becoming more common, the risk for wildfires keeps rising.
Getting Home Insurance for Wildfires
If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, it may be challenging to get home insurance. The reason is that companies can charge a higher premium or even offer little to no coverage in these areas.
If you are having difficulty finding home insurance due to living in a fire zone, the first thing to do is to shop around. You should try to compare quotes from at least three home insurance companies -- including brokers and regional carriers -- and ask the agents for a recommendation on insurance in a fire zone.
After shopping around, if you are still having a hard time, consider applying to your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. FAIR Plans help homeowners obtain coverage when they are having difficulty with the traditional market due to conditions that are no fault of their own (e.g., living in a fire zone). FAIR Plan rates could be higher, so be sure to keep comparing.
Reducing Wildfire Risk
There are some steps that homeowners can take to lower the risk wildfires can pose:
- Clear away vegetation and shrubs: Some types of vegetation are more flammable than others. It is advised to modify or even eliminate all vegetation around your home, ideally establishing a “safe zone” of at least 30 feet or up to 100 feet. Maintain your lawn and regularly clear any leaves, dry brush, or downed logs. Don’t forget to keep your gutters clean as well. Make sure there are never any vines, shrubs, or branches touching your home.
- Keep combustibles away from your home: Take a look around your home and ask yourself if anything else appears to be combustible. Do you have firewood? If so, stack it 100 feet away from your home. How about a barbecue grill? Keep any gas grills, charcoal, or propane tanks at least 15 feet away from your home. Similarly, make sure there is nothing else flammable within 15 feet of your barbecue. For added safety, place a ¼ inch mesh screen over your grill to minimize any embers from escaping.
- Treat your home with fire-resistant materials: Because the roof is most susceptible to wildfire embers, opt for fire-resistant roofing materials, including clay, slate tiles, fiberglass tiles, metal, or concrete. Avoid wood and shingle roofs. Similarly, invest in fire-resistant siding such as stucco, brick, rock, cement shingles, or metal. If your siding is made of wood, consider treating it with fire retardant if you can’t replace it. If you have thin windows, consider installing dual or triple-paned windows, along with fire-resistant shutters or drapes. Keep in mind that exposed eaves, overhangs, decks, or porches can trap heat. It is best to enclose these. Lastly, don’t forget to install spark arrestors on any chimneys, stovepipes, and vents to prevent embers from escaping.
Now that you have a better understanding of fire insurance, shop home insurance quotes from top companies with CompareHomeInsuranceQuotes.com!