house destroyed by wildfire

A Guide to Wildfire Insurance in California

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Major wildfires occurring in different states, including California, have historically left mass destruction in their wake. They don’t just destroy forests; they also burn down homes. Since wildfire insurance can help after such a tragedy, you may be wondering if it’s part of your homeowners coverage. Read on to learn about insurance policies designed to cover your property against fire damage, whether you’re a renter or homeowner.

Wildfire Insurance Under Homeowners Coverage

Wildfire insurance is usually part of a homeowners policy. It encompasses multiple coverage components to provide all-around protection for house and personal belongings. Here are the main elements covered under the policy:

  • Your main dwelling– Up to a specific limit, the coverage can pay to rebuild your dwelling unit or main house and attached structures, such as your garage.
  • Other structures– These are structures detached from the main dwelling but within your home compound. They may include a shed or detached garage. Other structures coverage usually amounts to 10% of the main dwelling coverage.
  • Personal possessions– The policy covers items like kitchen appliances, electronics, food, clothing and furniture. A limit of between 50% and 70% of your home coverage applies here.
  • Additional living costs-It’ll cover any expenses you incur for staying at a hotel or renting a house as your property is rebuilt as long as your home is uninhabitable.
  • Your yard– Trees, grass, and other vegetation on your yard may be covered up to a certain limit.

Condo Insurance and Wildfire Protection

Only inside parts of a condo are covered for wildfire damage under a condo insurance policy. Your “master policy” (under homeowners association’s coverage) covers exterior parts of the building. Covered items include:

  • Interior walls– An “all-in” master policy typically covers interior items like appliances and plumbing. In contrast, “bare walls” coverage doesn’t usually cover interior contents. “Interior walls” coverage would include cabinets and other interior installations not protected by your HOA coverage.
  • Personal possessions-Condo insurance covers personal items you own, like clothes and furniture.
  • Additional living expenses– Theloss of use” component of your policy covers temporary living expenses, including hotel accommodation and meals if your home is uninhabitable.

Fire Damage Under Renters Insurance

You can benefit from having fire wildfire insurance if you live in a rented house. Your policy could pay to replace your damaged personal items, including clothing and electronics. If you can’t use your property for a period of time after fire damage, the policy would cover additional living expenses. You need this protection because landlord insurance never covers renter’s loss of personal properties.

Finding Homeowners Insurance in a Wildfire Zone

Insurance companies usually hesitate to cover homes in areas with a high risk of wildfire. Some of those willing to cover your property may charge high premiums. You can still shop around for the most affordable rates if you live in a wildfire prone area.

If you’re unable to secure homeowners insurance, you can try applying for a cover with your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan. Such a policy can be your safety net when all traditional coverage options are unavailable. Just as with many other states, your wildfire insurance application must be denied at least three times before you can access a FAIR plan in California.

However, apply for a FAIR plan as a last resort as it usually provides limited coverage, forcing you to buy extra protection such as liability insurance elsewhere, which may end up being very expensive.

There’s no predicting when the next monster wildfire will break out in California, causing mass devastation. However, having sufficient homeowner insurance protection is a crucial part of preparing for life after the disaster strikes. If you need help putting together wildfire insurance in California, contact Hoffman Brown Company today. We’re happy to address your homeowner insurance needs right away.