As Oklahoma residents, we know that fires can strike seemingly from anywhere. With much of the state in perpetual drought, wildfires are becoming more and more common. As a homeowner, you want to protect your house and belongings from the devastation a fire can cause by having fire insurance. Before you search for comprehensive homeowners insurance quotes that cover the damage caused by fires, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
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Fire Risk in OK
Oklahoma homes are at twice the risk of fire than homes in other states. That's why it is so important for residents of the Sooner State to get fire insurance coverage through homeowners, auto, and other insurance options..
Although Texas has just as many wildfires as Oklahoma, the risk of Texas residents dying due to fire is less than half of that for residents across its border. Why Oklahomans are at an increased risk is uncertain, but it could be that the state's higher population density accounts for more damage due to widespread fires.
Fires Do Not Discriminate
A raging wildfire or a blazing electrical fire doesn't care if you just bought your home or recently completed that addition you've worked years to finish.
Fortunately, advances in fire prevention technology and the widespread use of fire alarms have decreased the number of people who die in Oklahoma due to fires. Still, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, fires kill thousands of Americans and result in billions of dollars in property damage every year.
Does Your Insurance Protect You From Fire?
Most Oklahoma homeowners insurance policies have fire protection built into the package. Many policies cover structural damage and loss of personal property (contents) up to about 50 percent of the covered value of the home. If your home policy provides $200,000 worth of coverage, you will have up to about $100,000 worth of coverage for your personal property (furniture, appliances, jewelry, artwork, etc.).
The actual compensation you would receive for a covered loss depends on several factors, including the type of policy you choose and the deductible you set. It's a good idea to look at your family's budget to determine a deductible that you can afford should a fire damage your home.
What Are the Options for Fire Protection in Oklahoma?
Since most homeowners policies actually have fire insurance built in for the exterior, be sure to determine what kind of insurance you need to cover the contents of your home. Most OK insurance companies will let you choose how you wish to protect your personal property from loss due to fire. To help you decide which policy would offer the better coverage for your needs, learn about their differences:
- Actual cash value: This option pays the cost to replace damaged property while factoring in depreciation amounts. For example, a 10-year-old appliance such as an air conditioner or stove would have an actual cash value much lower than the cost to purchase a new appliance. If your home has older equipment, you may find an insurance claim resulting from fire damage may not help you buy a new stove.
- Replacement cost: This option pays the cost to replace damaged property without factoring in deductions for depreciation, but payment is limited to a maximum dollar amount. With replacement cost, the insurer would replace that 10-year-old stove with a new one if a fire destroyed it.
What Can You Do To Prepare?
Whenever you purchase fire insurance, via homeowners or comprehensive auto insurance, from an Oklahoma company, it is a good idea to take an inventory of the personal property you keep inside your home.
If you own several valuable items, such as jewelry or artwork, it may be wise to find a fire insurance rider policy, as most Oklahoma insurance companies place a value cap on the amount of insurable property.
In addition to your home and personal property, your fire insurance coverage will usually include additional structures on your property, such as a garage or shed. Some policies will even provide coverage for temporary housing if your home becomes uninhabitable due to fire. These are important things to discuss with a knowledgeable agent who can help make sure you have the right coverage for your needs.
If you need fire insurance for your auto, ATV, boat, or other major items, comprehensive insurance is usually the best way to make sure that you'll get peace of mind if flames appear. Sometimes, your homeowners insurance will provide some minimal fire protection for these items if they are located inside the attached garage or parked on the property, so make sure you check your policy to see how it works. Otherwise, a separate comprehensive, or "other than collision" policy can be purchased to cover your car, boat, or other vehicle to protect you from financial loss.
How Do You Deal With the Insurance Company?
Filing insurance claims is never fun. However, you can make it a little less painful by following these guidelines:
- Be sure to install fire alarms and fire extinguishers on all floors of your home. Insurance companies may not honor a claim on fire damage if you don't have this safety equipment installed.
- Keep receipts for any expensive items you own. Insurance companies prefer a paper trail for the items you own.
- Document any improvements you have made to the home to ensure coverage in the event you need to file a claim due to fire.
Find the Coverage You Need at an Affordable Price
Oklahomans are at higher risk of having fire damage to their homes than many of their American counterparts. That's why it's so important to find insurance protection that covers the damage caused by blazes, either man-made or natural.
Not all homeowners insurance policies provide the same benefits. That's why it's important to contact a knowledgeable Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent for experienced, hands-on assistance with your insurance quotes. Our agents will work hard to secure you with the best fire insurance coverage at the most affordable price.