High-Risk Areas And Homeowners Insurance
Getting home insurance in a high-risk areas is hard. Many people ask “does homeowners insurance cover forest fires if they live in an area that’s highly prone to brush fire? The short answer is YES, you can still find one. Typically, standard homeowners insurance covers your property from fire damages like wildfires. However, due to nonstop and record-breaking forest fire incidents in recent years, getting home insurance becomes a struggle.
If you live in a high-risk area, getting standard insurance for your house that covers brush fires can be very hard. You need to add an extra policy to have protection against wildfires if you want to make sure that you will be fully covered. Non-renewals and cancellations have become a normal thing now since the events of wildfires become too frequent.
What causes brush fires?
Natural triggers can cause wildfires or brush fires such as lightning, and climate change. However, 85% of fires are caused by human negligence. Undisciplined people who left lit cigarettes, campfire, sparks from equipment, hot rifle-bullet fragments, and arson. And due to these reasons, cases of brush fires are continuously rising. Although many people have the impression that California is the only state with the highest risk, what happened in the past years tells us otherwise. Other states like Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada are just a few states on the list of having brush fires.
- Homeowners’ insurance typically covers fire damage
- Some States offer Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan or FAIR to eligible homeowners who cannot find home insurance.
- Some insurers no longer offer homeowners insurance in high-fire risk areas and deny renewal of the contract.
- If you want extra coverage on your policy, you can add an endorsement or Guaranteed Replacement Cost
States that have a high rate of wildfire incidents
The heat of California can be the number one reason why it is always on the first spot. But that doesn’t mean that other states are safer from the fire. Here are the top 3 states of most brush fire cases in the year 2020.
As of December 2020, there have been a total of 9,279 fire incidents in California. These incidents burnt 4,197,628 acres of land. Destroyed 10,488 structures and 31 casualties. This is the highest rate of wildfire damage that happened in just one year.
The three largest fires in the history of Colorado were recorded last 2020 when over 700,000 acres were burned.
- Cameron peak fire – It all started at Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in August. It became the state’s largest wildfire in history after burning over 208,913 acres after it was finally contained in December.
- East Troublesome Fire – This is the second-largest fire in the history of Colorado. From Oct 21 to 22, the blaze moved as much as 6,000 acres per hour that burned 193,812 acres all in all. There are 350-400 families who lost their homes because of this.
- Pine Gulch Fire – This is the former largest fire in the history of Colorado before the first two happened. The Pine Gulf fire started on July 31 and just stopped on September 24. The brush fire burned almost 140,000 acres in total.
Approximately 1 million acres of land was burned in Oregon last 2020. This almost doubled the 10-year average of 557,000 acres on the historical record. There were thousands of structures destroyed, and over 2,200 there were homes.
Types of Insurance Coverage
Looking at the destruction wildfire brought to the lives of many gave you an idea of what to be prepared for. We can never know when accidents like this can happen. And the only way for us to be prepared is to make sure our lives and property are covered no matter what. Now let’s take a look at what standard home insurance can cover in case of wildfire damage.
Standard Homeowners Insurance
Now, let’s say, you were able to get a homeowners insurance policy even if you live in a wildfire-prone area. If this happens, your house and your personal belongings are now both covered from fire damage. Also, your insurer may cover additional living expenses if you need to evacuate your home and live temporarily in a new place while your house is being built. Here are what’s covered in standard homeowners insurance:
If the total amount of rebuilding your home is less than the maximum limit, you will be underinsured. Any amount more than that should be out of your pocket. Policy add-ons to extend replacement costs can add another 20% – 50% of your dwelling coverage limit.
Personal Property Coverage
This policy covers your personal belongings like your furniture, clothes, appliances, and jewelry. However, the limit is normally just 50% of your dwelling coverage limit. Although some insurers can allow you to increase your limit up to 75% if you wish. If you have expensive possessions like sets of jewelry, antiques, furs, paintings, and a collection of guns, let your insurance agent know so they can give options on how to properly insure these items.
In a nutshell, your home insurance can cover only up to the maximum limit of your policy. Anything more than that, you can just add an endorsement to make sure that you will not be underinsured in case of unexpected calamities.
In case of a total loss, you need to move temporarily to a new place. If the house becomes inhabitable, your policy’s loss of use coverage may reimburse you. This covers your expenses like food, transport, and house rent. Just make sure to keep all receipts. These are needed when you file your claim. It will not only serve as evidence but also can make the process of your claim faster.
Overall, whether you are in a high-risk area or not, the bottom line is you need your insurance always! That is why checking for the best policy term that suits your needs is a must.
We hope you learned a lot regarding brush area home insurance. Contact us! We can help you find the best policy that you need. Whether it is for home or auto insurance in Denver, Co, or other parts of the U.S., our team is here to help you!