With a rate of one every 23 seconds, fires pose significant risk for damage to homeowners across the nation, including Arkansas. According to statistical analysis, it's not a matter of if you are affected by fire, but when. Understanding your risks and how you can mitigate the damage with comprehensive insurance policies that include enough coverage for fire damage can save you considerable stress and financial hardships.
Before you search for fire insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
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Arkansas Fire Statistics
According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- More than 70 people were killed in Arkansas due to fires during 2004.
- The average financial loss per fire in Arkansas in 2012 was $7,922, which ranks the state 11th in the nation in terms of economic impact.
- A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 66 seconds, and, in particular, a home fire occurs every 85 seconds.
- Fires occur in vehicles at the rate of 1 every 156 seconds, and there's a fire in an outside property every 46 seconds.
- An estimated $12.4 billion in property damage occurred as a result of fire in 2012, an increase of 6.6 percent from the year before.
Determine Your Fire Insurance Protection
Homeowners are at risk of fire in several ways. Cooking is the number one cause of residential fires, followed by the malfunction of heating and electrical systems. Inattentive use of candles, cigarettes, and matches, as well as arson, can also plague homeowners. A policy that includes fire hazard insurance can help you recover your home and belongings after a blaze.
Long ago, one needed to purchase a plaque from the local Arkansas fire department to insure their home against fire damage. These days, you don't need to search for a specific fire insurance company; your current homeowners or renters insurance policy should offer fire insurance coverage. However, there are many different providers and policies, and therefore a variety of coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions defining what is and is not covered. You will want to review your insurance policies to be certain you carry enough protection to help you recover quickly after a fire.
Review Your Insurance Policies for Fire Coverage in AR
Whether you are simply reviewing an existing homeowners or renters insurance policy, or you are looking to purchase a new insurance package, the first thing you want to do is conduct an inventory of the things you own.
Go room to room in your home or apartment and make a list of your furniture, electronics, books, clothing and other personal belongings. Assign a dollar value to every item. The total amount should give you an idea of how much contents coverage you should carry.
Homeowners insurance policies typically limit contents coverage to 50 percent of the home's value. For example, if your home is worth $250,000, your contents coverage would be capped at $75,000. If you find that your expensive art collection puts your contents value above your limit, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage, or "riders," to protect your collection.
Carefully Choose Your Fire Insurance Coverage Options
Another aspect of your insurance policy that you may want to review is the type of coverage options from which you choose to build your insurance plan. Most Arkansas insurance companies allow you to cover your contents in one of two ways: actual cash value or replacement cost. The difference between these options can mean the difference between recovering quickly after a fire, or a long and expensive process.
- Actual cash value: This type of reimbursement takes depreciation into account. For example, if your 10-year-old stove is destroyed by a cooking-related fire, your Arkansas insurance company may reimburse you for the cost it takes to purchase a used, 10-year-old stove.
- Replacement cost: This type of reimbursement ignores depreciation. Using the same example, your insurance company may compensate you for the cost it takes to replace your old stove with a brand new one with comparable features.
Insurance policies with replacement cost coverage may have higher premium quotes than those with actual cash value features, but you may find the few extra dollars per month provides better coverage in case of fire.
How Can I Insure My Vehicle Against Fires?
Because a significant percent of fires affect vehicles as well, it's important to also review your car or truck insurance policies to determine if you carry enough coverage.
A liability-only car insurance policy will not help you recover your losses, should your vehicle be burned. Only a comprehensive insurance package can help you pay for repairs to your car, truck or van if a fire erupts.
Set the Right Deductible on Your Fire Insurance
The deductibles you choose on your home, renters or vehicle insurance policies can also determine how quickly you recover after a fire. While a higher deductible can yield lower insurance premium quotes, you want to be sure the deductible you choose is one you can comfortably afford to pay should you need to file a fire damage claim.
You don't want to wait until you can afford to pay the deductible before your insurance policy kicks in to help you make repairs or replace burned belongings.
Can Fire Damage Insurance Claims Be Denied in Arkansas?
It is possible that your Arkansas insurance company may deny a fire damage claim under certain conditions. Usually, any fire that is deemed intentionally set by the homeowner or someone in the household will be rejected. Additionally, if the insurance company finds that the fire damage was preventable, the company may not pay your claim, whether or not the fire was set intentionally. Your insurance company may deny the claim if:
- The property owner refused to call the fire department
- The home was not equipped with smoke alarms, fire extinguishers or other fire prevention equipment
- The fire was caused due to gross negligence by the homeowner
Be sure your home is equipped with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Also, call the fire department immediately when a fire starts in your home or garage. Never leave candles or cigarettes unattended, and be sure to keep an eye on that hot grease on the stove.
How Can I Find Insurance with Fire Protection?
The last thing you want to worry about as you lead your family or beloved pets to safety during a fire is whether or not you have sufficient insurance coverage to help you back on your feet.
Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in the Trusted Choice network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options that better protect you against fire, and even assist you in filing a claim. These agents have years of experience working with Arkansas insurance companies, enabling them to find you a number of quotes with the best coverage options at the most affordable rates. Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect insurance policies that protect you against fire while meeting your needs and budget.