Do you need separate insurance for wildfires? Wildfires are a concern in nearly any state. Even in urban areas, as we’ve seen in California, fires can rage right up to city sprawl. The Insurance Journal reported an initial estimate of damage caused by the Woolsey and Camp fires at 9 billion dollars with that number expected to rise. Insurance and utility companies are finding more ways to provide help and safeguards in the wake of these deadly fires with new safety checks and insulated wires. Insurers even set up mobile units in the communities most impacted. Looking at these catastrophic events is a reminder to know and understand your coverage for fire hazards and to take precautions in your own home.
Does Your Policy Provide Insurance for Wildfires?
Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage to your home in the event of a fire—wild or otherwise. In the event of a catastrophic loss due to fire, your insurer will pay to rebuild your home and will often cover other elements related to losing your home like alternate housing and meals. Belongings within the home are also covered up to a certain amount. Keeping an up to date home inventory is the best way to ensure your assets are replaced. Vehicles require separate coverage under your auto insurance policy.
Be Fire Smart with Your Home
There are some things you can do to mitigate wildfire risk at your home. First, create areas that resist fire at certain intervals outside of your home. Use gravel or fire-resistant mulch and vegetation. This creates a firebreak.
Clean out gutters to keep them free of debris. Dry leaves can ignite a roof in seconds. One way to simplify cleaning is to install fire-resistant gutter protectors. Pay attention to other areas like dormers where debris may collect.
Windows are another important part of fire protection. Since glass is more vulnerable to heat than other materials in your home, tempered glass offers the best defense. Double-paned windows better prevent fire intrusion by creating a stronger barrier. Broken windows let flames gush into a home, setting curtains and window frames ablaze in moments.
Roofs are rated for fire safety. The most resistant roofs receive a class A rating. Ideally, your roof covering would not allow for a blaze to enter into the attic or space under the roof. This is how a roof covering earns the highest A rating.
Do You Need More Coverage?
Valuables in the home exceeding a certain amount need additional insurance coverage. However, your home insurance policy covers the structure and interior of your home. Insurers take into account things like fire risk and the proximity of fire hydrants when determining your premium.
Hopefully your home will never come under attack from a blazing fire—wild or otherwise. But in the event, this is why insurance exists—to give you peace of mind when the unexpected comes.
An umbrella policy may offer additional coverage for multiple situations.
More on wildfires and protecting your home.