Exterior of home with trees in yard

What is fire insurance and how does it work?

Few things are scarier for a homeowner than the prospect of their home and all the possessions within it going up in flames. Fire immediately begins to destroy everything it touches. If you look up what your homeowners insurance covers, it’s no surprise that you’ll usually find built-in coverage for fire-related damages. This coverage pays for damage to your property caused by fire, including any damaged belongings, lodging, and meals you may require should your home be uninhabitable following the fire.1

How much is fire insurance?

Since coverage for fire-related damages is built into most standard homeowners insurance policies, you won’t usually have to pay any more than your normal monthly rate for fire insurance. You can purchase additional coverage to pay for property damage above the limit set by your regular homeowners insurance policy or to cover particularly expensive possessions.2 The cost of that additional coverage will vary greatly depending on how much extra coverage you’re purchasing and where you’re purchasing it.

What does fire insurance cover?

Fire insurance coverage varies depending on the specific type of homeowners insurance you have, however you are typically covered for any damage to your property and personal belongings (up to the limit of your insurance) and expenses for lodging and meals you require should your home become uninhabitable due to the fire.3

Does homeowners insurance cover accidental fires?

Yes, accidents are what insurance is for. Damages from fires that occur accidentally, suddenly, and unintentionally are covered under homeowners insurance policies.5 Even still, observing proper fire safety protocols can help prevent many accidents. Insurance will pay for damages and lost possessions, but preventative measures help you prevent losing them in the first place.

Does homeowners insurance cover arson?

Insurance companies have the right to refuse coverage if the cause of a fire is ruled to be arson. This helps insurers protect themselves against insurance fraud.6

Does homeowners insurance cover electrical fires?

If the electrical fire occurred suddenly and without any fault of the homeowner, then it is covered like any other fire damage. It’s important to remember that claims may be denied if the insurer finds that damage occurred as a result of poor maintenance. Upgrading your breaker technology is an excellent way of reducing the risk of fire and ensuring your claim won’t be denied if an accident does happen.

Does homeowners insurance cover chimney fires?

Again, preventable issues are not covered in most standard policies, so whether you’re covered in the event of a chimney fire depends upon whether you’ve been neglecting your chimney. If you’ve been regularly cleaning your chimney and attending to any standard wear and tear from use, then you’ll most likely be covered if an accidental fire occurs.7

How do you file a fire damage claim?

Always document all damage with pictures and/or videos so that you have a record of its original extent. After you’ve started your claim or contacted your insurance agent, an adjuster will be sent to evaluate the damage in person. Make sure you show the adjuster all the damages you’ve recorded.8 After you’ve determined the coverage you’ll receive, simply hire the professional help you require to complete your repairs. Any contractors you hire will need to meet requirements set by both you and your insurer.

Protect yourself and your home from fire

There are a plethora of ways fires can start, and just as many ways to help make sure they don’t! Always keep your smoke alarms well maintained and mitigate risks from heat sources like space heaters and grills by keeping them a safe distance from anything flammable and turning them off when unmonitored. Have your chimney and fireplace serviced every year if you use them. You should also upgrade to more modern breaker technology if you have an old home and use ground fault circuit interrupters on all electrical outlets. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home.9

Accidents happen, of course, so you should familiarize yourself with homeowners insurance and what it covers. Get a free quote from Nationwide today and learn how homeowners insurance can take the heat off of you and your home.

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided.