wiseGEEK: What is Fire Insurance?
Fire insurance is a form of property insurance which protects people from the costs incurred by fires. When a structure is covered by this type of insurance, the insurance policy will pay out in the event that the structure is damaged or destroyed by fire. Some standard property insurance policies include fire coverage in their coverage, while in other cases, it may need to be purchased separately.
Depending on the terms of the policy, fire insurance may pay out the actual value of the property after the fire, or it may pay out the replacement value. In a replacement value policy, the structure will be replaced in the event of a fire, whether it has depreciated or appreciated: in other words, if homeowners purchase a home and the value increases, as long as it is covered by a replacement value policy, the insurance company will replace it. An actual cash value policy covers the structure, less depreciation. Most accounts come with coverage limits which may need to be adjusted as property values rise and fall.
Depending on the terms of the policy, the contents of the home as well as the structure may be covered in the event of a fire. Some policies also provide a living allowance which allows the victims of a fire to rent temporary housing while their homes are repaired. These clauses in an insurance policy typically cause the policy to become more expensive, since they will represent additional costs to the insurance company in the event of a fire. However, they can be extremely useful if a fire occurs.
The cost of fire insurance varies widely. The use of fire alarms, sprinkler systems, and other safety measures can decrease the cost of the policy, and may even be required for some policies. Living in a region prone to wildfires will increase the cost of the insurance, as the risk of a payout is greatly increased. Because many people purchase a fire policy for their homes and businesses, insurance companies have a large risk pool, making the policy less expensive than specialized insurance like earthquake or flood insurance .
When purchasing fire insurance, people should be aware that some types of fires may not be covered. For example, a fire caused by an earthquake might be excluded from a fire insurance policy, as might a fire caused by an act of God. It is important to read the terms of the policy carefully, and to ask for clarification from the insurance representative if the terms are not clear. If a policy does not appear to meet the need, it should be renegotiated until it is satisfactory.