Fire insurance provides extra protection, on top of what your insurance policy would normally cover, in the event of losses or damages to your property.
Is fire covered by your homeowners or renters insurance policy?
Before we get started, it’s important to note that “fire” is one of the 15 or 16 (depending on your state) named perils covered on your average renters or homeowners insurance policy.
What does that mean?
If a fire was at the root of any damages or losses to your place or stuff, your insurance company would have your back, financially speaking, when it comes to replacements or fixes.
In addition, the subsequent smoke damage from the fire (ruined clothing for example) is also listed in renters and homeowners insurance policies. The smoke does not necessarily even have to come from a fire in your apartment; smoke damage from a neighbor’s fire would still be covered.
There are, however, some limitations which we’ll get into in the following sections.
Why would you want to purchase fire insurance?
So if fire is already covered on your policy, the logical question is:
Why do you need fire insurance?
It’s particularly helpful for homeowners and especially when it comes to replacement and reconstruction costs in the unfortunate event your place burns down and everything is lost – these type of dramatic scenarios aren’t typically fully covered under your standard insurance policy.
What fire insurance covers… and what it doesn’t
Fire insurance, much like the named peril, covers accidents that result in fire.
So, if there was a short-circuit in your apartment that caused a fire, you’re covered. If the source that caused the fire isn’t covered by insurance (i.e. a flood somehow caused a fire to break out destroying your things), you’d also be covered.
This may be stating the obvious, but the only time your insurance won’t cover a fire is if you, or anyone on your policy, caused the fire on purpose – that’s considered negligence, something never covered in insurance.
In addition, fire insurance will also cover you for loss of use if a fire made your place uninhabitable.
For example, if a fire forces you out of your home, anything above your normal daily expenses will be covered (read: laundry service, meals out if you usually eat in, and hotel costs). Just be sure to keep all the receipts so your insurance company can reimburse you when you file a claim!
A note on smoke and water damage
A typical fire policy also includes additional coverage for smoke or water damage to your place and your stuff, sometimes for even up to a year. This isn’t covered by standard home or renters policies.
Too long, didn’t read? No worries, here’s a summary:
Fire insurance is a good idea if:
- The value of your property exceeds what your insurance company will cover you for
- Fires are very common where you live and you need that little extra piece of mind