You don't have to live on the outskirts of a large, wildlife management area to be at risk for fire. Unfortunately, many urban residents of Washington, DC discover their homeowners or business insurance policy did not include enough fire protection until the blaze dies out and the damage is done. Don't be burned twice by fire damage. Find out if you have sufficient coverage before the need to file a claim arises.
Before you search for fire insurance quotes, however, there are several factors to consider.
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Fire Risks for Washington D.C.
With more than 30 fire stations dotting the DC landscape, help is never far away when a fire does break out. Sometimes, however, even the most prompt arrival of firefighting rescue teams does not save your home or business from substantial losses.
- According to the National Fire Protection Agency, Americans experience a fire in their home, on average, once every five years.
- Cooking and home-heating cause about 72% of all residential fires.
- Nearly 3,400 people die each year as a result of a fire in their home.
- Smoke alarms are missing in nearly two-thirds of all fatal residential fires.
- The average cost of a single cooking-related fire insurance claim is $30,000.
Review Your Home Fire Coverage
You don't need to search for a specific fire insurance company, as your current homeowners or renters insurance policy provides fire insurance coverage. Long gone are the days of fire plaques that alerted Washington DC rescue crews to the fact that the homeowner carried insurance on their dwelling (although some DC fire stations still display these insurance cards of yesteryear). However, today there are many different insurance providers and policy options, and therefore a variety of coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions defining what is and is not covered. You want to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a major loss.
It is recommended to review your homeowners or business insurance policy every two years to determine if you are sufficiently covered in the event of a major fire.
How Much Insurance Is Enough in the Case of Fire?
Most Washington DC homeowners insurance policies fully cover structural damage in the case of a fire. The loss of personal property, or contents, is generally insured up to a value of about 50 percent of the covered value of the home. For example, if your homeowners insurance policy provides $400,000 worth of coverage, you can only find contents coverage for up to $200,000.
If your home is valued and insured at $200,000, your contents coverage would protect up to $100,000 of your personal property. For lower-valued homes with a lot of high-valued contents, you may want to purchase additional contents protections, or "riders," to insure all of your belongings.
Conduct an Inventory of Your Home
When deciding how much contents coverage to purchase as part of your fire insurance protection plan, it's a good idea to conduct an inventory of all your personal possessions. Sit down and make a list of all your valuables, including jewelry, artwork, electronics, clothes, kitchen equipment and even books. The total value of your Washington D.C. home's contents should give you an idea of how much contents coverage you should carry to fully protect yourself from fire damage.
Can the Insurance Company Deny My Fire Damage Claim?
Insurance companies can attempt to deny any claim made by the policy holder, but in some circumstances, that denial will be upheld. To avoid having your fire damage claim denied by your Washington DC insurance provider, be sure you do not fall into these situations:
- 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 from the homeowner, such as an unattended candle or cigarette
Also, if the fire is found to be the result of arson by the homeowner or another resident of the structure, the insurance company will most likely deny the claim.
How Will I Be Reimbursed for a Fire Insurance Claim?
The reimbursement you receive after filing a fire damage claim on your insurance policy depends on a few factors, including the deductible you choose and the contents coverage option you make.
Most Washington, DC residents choose deductibles between $1,000 and $5,000 on their homeowners insurance policies. This is the amount you are responsible for paying before the insurance kicks in to assist with the remaining repairs or replacement. While a $10,000 deductible will save you considerably on insurance premium quotes throughout the year, it may be unrealistic to afford that much should you face a severe fire.
Your reimbursement also depends on whether or not your contents coverage is at actual cash value or replacement cost. There are significant differences, so be sure you choose the option that best fits your needs.
- Actual cash value reimbursement takes depreciation into account. If your 10-year-old stove and range are destroyed by fire damage, this type of insurance will reimburse you the costs to replace a 10-year-old stove.
- Replacement cost reimbursement ignores depreciation. You would be reimbursed the cost it would take to replace your old stove with a comparable, brand new one.
Will Having Adequate Fire Insurance Increase My Quote?
Ensuring your homeowners insurance policy has adequate coverage to protect you from fire damage will not necessarily increase the quotes for your insurance premium. The quotes you will see from Washington, DC insurance providers will vary, depending on the deductible you choose, whether you opt for actual cash value or replacement cost reimbursement features, and how much coverage you need.
Insurance is intended to protect you from the potentially devastating losses that events like a fire can cause. While your quote may be lower with a ridiculously high deductible and scant coverage options, not having enough coverage may defeat the purpose of having insurance in the first place.
Find the Fire Insurance Coverage You Need
Insurance that includes protection from fire damage can be complex and confusing. There is no need to wonder if your homeowners insurance policy will cover you in the case of fire when you contact a knowledgeable independent agent on the Trusted Choice® network. These experienced agents are always here to help answer any questions you have, suggest coverage options that will protect your losses in the case of a blaze, and even help you file a claim if you experience a fire.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out how to fully protect yourself with insurance that is fire-proof.