Does homeowners insurance cover wildfires?
Depending on your insurer and your policy, damage caused by wildfires may be covered. If you live in an area where wildfires are common, damage caused by wildfires may not be covered.
How can I get a wildfire insurance policy?
There is no such thing as a "wildfire insurance policy." You may also find that getting coverage on homes in areas where wildfires are common may be difficult. Many insurance companies have either stopped offering homeowners insurance in fire-prone areas altogether or exclude coverage for wildfire damage. If your policy covers damage from wildfires, you may pay a higher rate and/or carry a separate deductible for wildfire damage.
Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plans are available in most states. These plans were created to give homeowners with high exposure to events they can't control, such as wildfires and windstorms, access to insurance when they can't get protection under a standard homeowners policy.
If you live in a fire-prone area and can't get coverage from a private company, you may be able to get insurance from your state's FAIR plan. FAIR plans are meant to be used as a last resort by people who have no other options.
Each state is responsible for determining what the plan covers and what its policy limits are. Because FAIR plans typically cost more than standard home insurance policies and have lower policy limits, it's best to exhaust all other options before opting for coverage through this type of plan.
What might coverage for damage caused by wildfires include?
Assuming wildfire damage is covered on your policy, your insurer may help pay for the following:
Your home's structure: If your residence gets damaged or destroyed in a wildfire, dwelling coverage may pay for repair costs, up to your policy's limit and minus any deductible. But if you live in an area that's prone to wildfires, that may not be enough. When natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, or floods occur, many homeowners need to rebuild simultaneously in the same location, which drives up the cost of labor and materials. Some insurers offer extended replacement cost or guaranteed replacement cost coverage, which pays for expenses that exceed your policy's dwelling limit.
Detached structures: Other structures coverage may pay to repair or replace structures on your property damaged from wildfire, such as a barn, gazebo, shed, or detached garage.
Your belongings: Wildfire may also destroy your personal property, like furniture, clothes, electronics, and toys. Personal property coverage may pay to replace these items, minus your deductible and up to your policy's limits.
Additional living expenses: If you can't stay in your house due to a covered loss, loss of use coverage may help pay for you to stay in a hotel or rent a house or an apartment while your home is being repaired. Loss of use coverage also helps pay for daily living expenses, such as food and transportation above what you'd normally spend.
Does renters insurance cover damage caused by wildfires?
If the apartment, condo, or house you're renting is damaged in a wildfire, your landlord's insurance policy may cover the cost to repair the structure, but it won't cover the cost of replacing your belongings. If you carry renters insurance, your policy's personal property coverage may pay to repair or replace your personal items damaged by a covered peril. Additionally, your renters policy's loss of use coverage may pay for temporary housing if you need to stay somewhere else while the property is being fixed.