Wildfires and Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Any natural disaster that is common in your area and threatens the safety of your home will affect the amount you are expected to pay for homeowners insurance, much like the way costs increase when smoking indoors. All areas of the United States are at risk for wildfires but there are certain areas that tend to have several during dry parts of the year that will need to take this concern into consideration when budgeting for their coverage. It will be well worth the cost of your contract if you do not have to pay for these extensive repairs out of pocket.

Determining Costs

In order to determine how much insurance coverage you should get against wildfires, you will need to determine the replacement value of your home. In order to do this, have a contractor come to your home and analyze how much it would cost to rebuild the structure from the ground up. You may want to have two or three other contractors give you their opinion to be sure you have an accurate figure. Select coverage that fits within this estimate to be sure you have enough protection to take care of any damage that might occur.

Keep in mind, if a wildfire damages your home, there is probably damage all over your area. If your home is unfit to live in until it can be repaired you will need to relocate to a hotel or rental home that can be miles away from where you usually live. You can include a clause in your insurance that will cover these rental costs and give you an allowance to cover some restaurant bills and commuting expenses. This will add to the cost of your monthly premium, so be sure to budget accordingly.

The more you do to keep your home safe from wildfire damage, the less it will cost you to get the coverage you need. Clean your roof and lawn regularly to remove any debris that could burn and trim trees so they could not spread fire to your home if they were set ablaze. If you are constructing your home then include a clear area for fire-fighting equipment and "fuel breaks" such as a large concrete driveway that will slow down the progress of a wildfire. Use as many fire-resistant materials as possible in the building of your home and avoid storing hazards such as firewood against your walls that could ignite.

Understanding Your Policy

In addition to the coverage you will need to rebuild your home if it burns, you will need coverage that will take care of smoke damage. This might be included in your wildfire clause or it might need to be added separately. Make sure you know what type of coverage you have before you need it so you can take care of any risk factors efficiently without the worry that you will be stuck paying hefty cleaning bills out of pocket later.

Remember, wildfires and homeowners insurance coverage for fires inside your home will be issued separately. Just because you see a fire damage clause in your policy does not mean you have insurance against wildfires. Ready your contract carefully to see if there are any exceptions in your fire clause that mean you will need to purchase a separate rider to have smoke or wildfire damage included in your policy and ask your agent how much it will cost to get the protection you need. Knowing how your policy works can mean the difference between having your home protected and being unable to pay for repairs.

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