Although this type of coverage is not required, it is definitely beneficial to have when living in a state that is prone to wildfires.
At the beginning of 2018, the state of CA suffered at least $12 billion in damages caused by wildfires. In fact, because the problem has grown so large for Californians, many insurers are no longer offering coverage for fire damage in certain areas as the potential destruction these fires can cause will wind up costing companies much more than they are willing to dish out [Source: CBS News]. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find a brave company out there that is still offering coverage for fire damage.
I thought my standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers fire damage? Will it not?
Most insurance companies will cover damage caused by a fire that started from leaving a potholder too close to the stove or when an electrical shortage leads to a fire breaking out. However, that doesn’t mean your insurer will pay for wildfires and the damage they cause. Because each insurance company offers different types of policies with different limits to choose from, it isn’t smart to assume that all standard home insurance policies will cover fire damage.
The fact is, many insurance companies require you to purchase additional coverage for fire damage if you live in an area that is considered to be high-risk, says the Los Angeles Times , that is if you want them to pay for any destruction it may cause. The reason being is that if your home is located in an area that is prone to having devastating wildfires break out, “your home-replacement dollars could be stretched thin as costs soar for everything from materials to labor.” And you may not have enough in coverage to pay for the extent of damage wildfires are known to cause unless you do add on additional fire coverage to the policy you currently have.
Something else you need to keep in mind as wildfires become more common in California is that some insurers may change the wording in your policy come renewal time and if you aren’t reviewing it thoroughly, you might miss that that your coverage has changed in terms of what is provided to you should your home become damaged or destroyed by a wildfire. Therefore, it is always recommended that each time you renew your policy, you check it for accuracy and be sure there isn’t a clause hidden in there that could come back to haunt you later on down the road if your home were to sustain any sort of damage a wildfire were to cause.
So, to clarify, while fire insurance may be included in your standard home insurance policy, it may not cover the damage a wildfire causes which is why you might need to purchase additional coverage.
Now, as we mentioned above, some insurers are choosing not to offer coverage for wildfires seeing that they “now [are] an everyday threat to the life and property of Californians.” Therefore, it would be a good idea to take the time to review your policy to determine what it will cover and what it won’t if you were to submit a fire-related claim. And if you find you lack coverage for fire damage, consider adding the additional coverage onto your policy. In the event your insurer doesn’t want to offer it, you can always turn to the California FAIR Plan which provides coverage to those who live in high-risk areas but cannot find coverage in the open market, according to the Los Angeles Times.
What if my insurer doesn’t want to pay a fire-related claim?
If your insurer does offer fire insurance, however, they are choosing not to pay a claim you recently submitted, then you may want to contact a California insurance claims attorney. They can help you better understand your policy and the coverage you have and decide if the insurer is acting out of bad faith or simply mishandling your claim.
To find a California insurance claims lawyer in your area now, contact USAttorneys.com today.