Coverage For Wildfires

Today, nearly 1/3 of American homeowners (31%) have already experienced damage to their homes driven by hurricanes, tornados, floods, and wildfires.

Wildfires are unplanned fires, including lightning-caused fires, unauthorized human-caused fires, and escaped prescribed fire projects. The line of destruction caused by these events is spreading across the country like, well, wildfire.

Does homeowners’ insurance cover damage caused by wildfires?

Yes. In most cases, homeowners’ insurance will help cover damage to your home and personal belongings resulting from a wildfire. Standard policies typically help protect against specific perils, including fire, but depending on where you live and your policy, coverage may vary.  

In some places where wildfires are common, like California, homeowners may have trouble finding insurers to issue a policy.

With the increased frequency and severity of wildfires, lately, if you live in a fire-prone area, it’s important to know whether your homeowners’ insurance policy covers wildfire damage and how much coverage you have.

Homeowners should also try to mitigate the risk of wildfires by installing preventative features such as noncombustible siding, decking and roofing materials, covered vents; and fences that are not connected to their home.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Wildfire Damage

There are different types of coverage under homeowners’ insurance policies to defend different parts of your property and possessions from damage caused by wildfires:

  1. Dwelling insurance protects your house and its individual components, such as the roof and plumbing, garage, or an attached deck. If your home is damaged by fire (or another covered incident), dwelling coverage may help pay for repairs or cover costs to rebuild.
  2. Extended dwelling coverage can help protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket expenses if construction, labor, material, or permitting costs change and exceed your current policy limits. This coverage may also pay for certain contractor costs, tree or debris removal, construction fees, permitting fees, and other expenses.
  3. Personal property insurance helps pay for the costs of replacing personal property in your home following a covered event. This includes personal electronics, fine artjewelry, and appliances. Since there is no deduction for depreciation on these items, you should get the amount needed to buy an identical or comparable item rather than settling for something of lesser value down the line.
  4. Additional living expense coverage offered by some private carriers helps cover extra expenses such as alternate housing or hotels, cars, personal property kept in basements, valuable papers such as stock certificates, and more.

If you’re concerned about how damage from wildfires is handled under your homeowners’ insurance policy, contact your insurance agent to discuss your situation and make sure you have adequate protection.