While the 17,000 acres of forestland in Maine are beautiful, during dry, warm summers, fires can cause incredible devastation. If you live in Maine and don't have fire insurance, you could be paying out of pocket for damage caused by a fire.
The good news is, there are several policies that cover fire damage that you may already have. If you don't already carry these insurance options, you can purchase them from a qualified insurance agent. This guide will help you understand your risks in Maine, and what to look for when you're comparing quotes for coverage.
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What Are the Causes of Fires in Maine and the U.S.?
While we have fire stations throughout the country, fires are still claiming lives. In fact, the United States has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrial world. Here are some of the main causes of fires in Maine and the rest of the U.S.:
- Unattended cooking, rather than mechanical failure or malfunction, often starts cooking fires.
- Portable or fixed-space-heater heating methods start two-thirds of fires.
- Smoldering cigarettes and ashtrays are still the leading causes of fire deaths in the United States.
- Children playing with fires account for 400 deaths, 3,000 injuries and more than $250 million in property loss or damage each year.
- Children start more fatal fires playing with matches and lighters than by playing with loaded guns.
- Approximately 50% of home fire deaths happen in homes without smoke detectors.
Insurance can't help you prevent fires – you'll have to do that on your own. This article will give you insight about how fire insurance can help you recover financially after a fire devastates your Maine home.
Maine Fire Statistics
Whether it's a house fire, wildfire or arson, a fire can be devastating, no matter where you live. While Maine doesn't have an incredibly high death toll related to fires, the total dollar loss is large for the area:
- ME overall financial losses in 2011: $30,543,899
- Fire calls in 2011: 3,250
- Fire-related deaths in 2011: 81
Here are a couple of the worst fires in Maine in recent years:
- Bangor Fire, 2008
- Fort Kent Fire, 2012
According to a report on fires in Maine between 1983 and 1992, most fires had a few things in common:
- 73.0% occurred in wooden homes, while 18% were in mobile homes.
- 36.2% of these fires originated in the living room, and 26.6% in the kitchen.
- 64.0% were in urban areas, and 18% were in suburban areas.
- In 40.5% of fatal fires, there were no smoke alarms installed.
Fires can happen at any point in time. In fact, 7 to 8 a.m., when most homeowners find themselves leaving for work, is the most likely time for a fire to occur.
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Finding Maine Fire Insurance
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this statement is just as relevant to health as it is to fires. There are basic things you can do to prevent fire loss, like keeping dry brush away from your home, maintaining your smoke detectors and cleaning out your chimney and dryer regularly. But when fires do occur, having ME fire insurance will help make the recovery process easier.
Fire policies are usually broken down into four categories:
- Dwelling: This refers to the main home.
- Structures: This includes such things as tool sheds, guesthouses and detached garages.
- Personal property: This refers to the personal belongings in the home.
- Loss of use or additional living expenses: This helps pay for the insured party to move out, find temporary housing and move back in once the structure is repaired.
Is Comprehensive Insurance Coverage Enough?
When a fire damages more than just a home, comprehensive insurance will help cover items like boats, vehicles and ATVs.
When fires due to natural causes damage these expensive items, comprehensive insurance will usually cover the expense to repair or replace the items. However, you must also notify the insurance company of any modifications you make to those items. If your area falls victim to a wildfire, smoke damage can easily cause damage to both the exterior and interior of a vehicle.
Fires that aren't from natural causes can also plague your vehicles, boats and trailers. Arson cases are on the rise, and these well-planned crimes can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the targeted items.
Having good comprehensive insurance will help you recover from the damage a fire can cause. Always be sure to purchase a plan with the proper coverage limits to ensure full reimbursement in case of a loss.
Will Fire Insurance Cover Wildfires?
Any heavily wooded area with large amounts of underbrush is susceptible to a wildfire. Homeowners living in an area that could potentially fall victim to a Maine wildfire should purchase fire insurance.
This insurance will not only help you recover from damage due to a house fire, but will also pay for any damage done by a wildfire. A wildfire is different from a normal fire, and, in some ways, can be more damaging. The water used to extinguish a wildfire can cause major damage to a home even if the wildfire never touches the home. These damaged homes may also need repairs such as soot removal, furniture and textile deodorizing, along with duct work or wall repair. Fire insurance that you find in Maine may also pay to replace any damaged landscaping.
When considering purchasing fire insurance, take a tally of the possessions in your home, put a value to them and double it. It may be a good idea to insure your home for replacement value, not cash value, since repairing a home may very well exceed the cash value of the dwelling. Actual cash value factors in depreciation and loss of value over a number of years, while replacement value covers replacing the item at today's prices.
How to Get Maine Fire Insurance Quotes
With wildfires on the rise throughout the entire United States, every home is at risk. It's important to make sure that you protect your home and property with sufficient Maine fire insurance coverage.
A TrustedChoice.com agent in your Maine neighborhood can get you fire insurance quotes and coverage options from a number of insurance companies. Contact an agent to start the search for a policy that meets your budget.