by Penny M. Hagerman
Each year, fires cause millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and result in thousands of lives lost. And whether loss is major or minor, partial or total, homeowners often find themselves displaced, facing financial pressure or suffering the loss of a loved one.
But with the right insurance protection, it doesn’t have to be that way. By providing the funds necessary to repair damage, replace the dwelling or pay for the family to live elsewhere temporarily (depending on the insurance policy), the right insurance coverage provides a means of support during a stressful time.
Just the Basics
First adopted in New York in 1943 as part of a basic homeowners policy, fire protection provides insurance against destruction caused by fire, lightening and, in some cases, smoke.
When a fire occurs, the insurer pays for needed repairs, replacement of the home, temporary relocation for occupants or any other items specified by the terms of the insurance contract.
However, the home’s contents and medical bills may or may not be covered. It’s wise to speak with an insurance agent ahead of time to make sure these items are covered under your policy. If not and coverage is desired, they may be added to a more basic homeowners policy.
Some Fast Facts
How important is home safety and protection? These statistics reveal all:
- Fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined
- Eight out of ten fire deaths occur at home
- A residential fire occurs every 77 seconds
- Unattended cooking is the most common cause of home fire
When kitchen grease goes up in flames or faulty wiring sparks, the family that has the right insurance policy can fix what needs to be fixed, replace what’s irreparably damaged, seek medical attention if needed, and return to the abode as quickly as possible—reducing financial and emotional anguish.
Saving money when insuring your home takes reducing risk. The less risk the insurance company bears, the lower the insurance rates quoted.
Try these steps that make fire less likely, reduce its damage and lower insurance rates:
- Purchase a home close to a hydrant or fire station
- Add smoke detectors and alarm systems connected to emergency services
- Use fire-resistant roofing materials
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Make sure electrical systems are up to code