How does home insurance cover fire

On a standard home policy, you’re protected against fire under four separate coverages:

Dwelling coverage (for your home)

If your home was completely destroyed or partially damaged in a fire, your dwelling coverage would pay to rebuild or repair the home. Plus, your insurance will pay to remove the debris/rubble or tear down the remaining sections. Basically, insurance makes sure you get back to normal.

See more on dwelling coverage.

Other structures on your property

You’re also protected if fire damages or destroys a detached garage, barn, tool shed, or any other structure on your property that isn’t attached to your home. Similar to your dwelling coverage, insurance on other structures pays for the rebuild/repair as well as the removal of debris/rubble.

Personal property (for your belongings)

Sometimes referred to as “contents insurance,” examples include furniture, clothing, electronics, or other property you own. Your belongings will be covered if they are damaged or destroyed in a fire up to your policy’s personal property maximum limit. For certain items like jewelry and furs, your policy may contain a sublimit (which is simply a different maximum amount of coverage), so check your policy for details.

See more on jewelry insurance.

Loss of use (for your living expenses)

If there’s a fire and you’re unable to live in your home, you’re covered for the costs of living elsewhere while your home is repaired or rebuilt. Food, basic living expenses, plus boarding for your pets is often covered while you’re living in temporary housing. Your hotel or rent costs will be paid for up to the limits of your policy, but only the excess of what you normally spend for food is covered. For example, if you spend $250 per week on groceries, but spend $400 dining out, you’ll receive $150.

See more on loss of use insurance.

If your home was completely destroyed or partially damaged in a fire, your dwelling coverage would pay to rebuild or repair the home.

Does homeowners insurance cover arson?

Yes, assuming no one listed on the policy or living in your household intentionally set the fire. Remember, arson means the fire was an intentional and criminal act.

How does condo insurance cover fire?

Because a condominium is a shared living environment, coverage against fire can be more complicated. Just like home insurance, your condo policy protects your condo (dwelling) and property from fire damage. Will you be covered by your own policy or by the condo association’s insurance policy? The answer will vary based on the situation and parties involved.

In some cases, your condo association (also known as your homeowners association or HOA) will only cover damage to your ceilings and walls. But, your own insurance policy will be responsible for all damage to the interior, like cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc. The condo association’s policy also won’t cover your belongings, so make sure you have the right amount of personal property coverage under your own condo insurance. Similar to homeowners insurance, your loss of use coverage will pay for your rent or hotel stay and additional meal expenses while your condo is being rebuilt or repaired.

Contact your condo association to find out more specifics about coverage in the event of a fire.

Fire insurance on a renters policy

As a renter, you don’t have to insure the structure you live in. That’s the responsibility of the landlord or the owner of the property. Your renters insurance will cover your belongings damaged or destroyed in a fire up to the max limits of your policy for personal property. Also, if there’s a fire and you’re forced to move, your renters policy usually covers your additional living expenses while your landlord rebuilds or repairs your residence. This is called “loss of use” coverage and, at ASI, one of the insurers in Progressive’s network and part of our family of companies, you’re covered up to 40% of your policy’s personal property limit (other insurers may have a different limit). That means if you have $100,000 in personal property coverage, you’ll receive up to $40,000 for things like hotel stays, meals, and transportation.

How does car insurance cover fire?

If your car catches fire, you’re covered under comprehensive (which is an optional coverage that most drivers add). That includes a garage fire or if your vehicle is damaged by a surrounding structure on fire. Auto insurance rarely covers mechanical problems, but fire can be an exception—you may be covered if your engine catches fire as a result of the mechanical issue.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you will not be covered for fire damage under your auto policy.

Keep in mind, any personal property in your car is typically covered under your home, condo, or renters insurance.

Pro tips

The National Fire Protection Association suggests placing smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom, and outside of each sleeping area. Make sure to test the smoke detectors once a month, and have a fire escape plan in place for you and your family. In case of an actual fire, don’t worry about any of your possessions—that’s what your insurance is for—just make sure you and your loved ones exit the home immediately.

Plus, depending on the insurer, you may get extra savings for having a sprinkler system, smoke detectors, or if your home is within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or within five miles of a fire station. Get a homeowners insurance quote and see which discounts you can earn.