The damage from a fire can be overwhelming. While most residential fires are small and easily contained, some can quickly grow out of control and can lead to thousands of dollars in property damage. In addition to the possibility of fires caused by accidents within the home, California residents must also be wary of the risk of wildfires. If you do not have adequate fire insurance coverage, you may not be able to recoup your losses following a disaster. It is therefore in your best interest to know what coverage you already have, and, if more coverage is necessary, to start comparing fire insurance quotes for policies that can fully cover your California property.
California Wildfire Facts
- Between Jan. 1, 2014 and June 21, 2014, there were 2,547 wildfires in the state of California.
- These wildfires burned 18,322 acres of land.
- Between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 21, 2013, there were 2,224 wildfires in the state of California.
- These wildfires burned 26,934 acres of land.
- “Fire Season” in this state begins in early summer and lasts through October.
- The worst recent wildfire in this state was the Cedar Fire in October 2003:
- 300,000 acres of land burned.
- The wildfire destroyed 4,800 structures, including many homes.
- 15 people died.
- Property damage amounted to more than $27 million.
What Is Fire Insurance and How Do You Get It?
Fire insurance is a specialized form of property insurance. It is not something you purchase as a separate policy; rather, you typically have it as part of the policies you already own. This coverage compensates you for the costs associated with the repair, replacement or reconstruction of property damaged or destroyed by a fire. If you carry homeowners, business or vehicle insurance, you likely have fire insurance coverage.
You should ensure that the coverage you have is sufficient to cover a total loss, which is often the outcome of a devastating fire. You can do this by checking the coverage limits on your currently held policies. Keep in mind that the value of your personal property may have gone up significantly since you purchased your policies. If so, it may be time to increase your coverage limits.
Fire Insurance Can Cover Damage to Your California Home
Regardless of whether you own or rent your home, you can purchase insurance to cover your personal property against fire damage. The type of dwelling you live in and your ownership status will define what kind of policy you need to purchase in order to have coverage.
- Owners of traditional and manufactured homes: Homeowners insurance can provide coverage for both the structure of your house and the contents kept within. If you own any particularly valuable property, you may need to purchase additional riders in order to ensure you have it fully covered.
- Condo and townhouse owners: Your condo association will own and maintain a master insurance policy that provides coverage for the structure of your building. You will need to cover your personal belongings, including everything walls-in in your condo, with your own condo insurance policy. Bear in mind that you may need to purchase additional riders to cover your more expensive belongings fully.
- Renters: Although your landlord is responsible for covering any damage to the structure of your rental home, you need to cover your own personal property. You can do this by purchasing a renters insurance policy. These policies are usually very affordable and can reimburse you if a fire or other covered event results in the loss of or damage to your personal property.
- RV owners: RV insurance policies cover you against three types of fires: those that might happen as the result of a collision, those that might happen as the result of an accident within the RV when you are using it as a home and those that might happen due external sources such as arson and wildfires. This insurance covers both the vehicle itself and the contents kept within.
Regardless of the type of home coverage you have, it is important that you review your coverage limits every three to five years to ensure that they are still suitable. If you own a lot more property than when you first purchased your policy, you may want to increase your coverage.
Fire Insurance Can Cover Damage to Your CA-Based Business
If you own one of the 3.5 million businesses based in California, you may have purchased a business insurance policy to protect it. If so, your business property likely already has coverage against fire damage. As with home insurance, it is important that you review your coverage limits every three to five years to ensure that your coverage limits are high enough to handle your business’s growing coverage needs.
Also, if you have not already purchased it, you may want to consider adding the lost income coverage option to your business coverage policy. This additional coverage enables your business to collect funds sufficient to cover monthly expenses and employee salaries in the event that you must temporarily close or halt operations while you rebuild or repair your business following a covered event.
Fire Insurance Can Cover Damage to Your Vehicle
If your vehicle catches fire, it is nearly always a total loss. There are two ways that fire can damage your car or truck:
- Collision-related fire damage: If a collision causes your car to burn, your collision insurance (provided you have included it as part of your auto policy) or the responsible party’s liability insurance may provide a replacement vehicle. If an uninsured or underinsured driver causes the damage, your own policy may provide coverage if you have included uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as one of your policy options.
- Non-collision-related fire damage: If your vehicle sustains damage by fire because of a non-collision event such as a wildfire, a fire in the garage where it is parked or even arson, you can only receive compensation for the damage if you have included comprehensive coverage as one of your policy options.
The state of California requires drivers to carry liability insurance only. All other coverage is optional. Therefore, if you bought a policy that simply meets the state requirements, you will not have collision, comprehensive or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you want your vehicle to have full coverage against all types of fire damage, these additional coverage options are necessary.
Get Help Obtaining Fire Insurance Quotes in California
Would you like help going over your current fire insurance coverage or getting quotes on new coverage? If so, you may appreciate the assistance that an independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network can provide. These agents can help you understand the fire coverage you already have with your currently held policies, and, if they find deficiencies in your coverage, they can help you find and compare competitively priced policies that can suitably meet your fire coverage needs.
There are several Trusted Choice agents located within the state of California. Contact an agent with an officer near you to get more information and to start comparing fire insurance quotes.