Personal Finance

Best Insurance for Wildfires

Insurance is a key factor in protecting your home from disaster. Wildfire insurance is something homeowners should consider when purchasing coverage.

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Your insurance should protect your home, no matter where you live. Different homes face different perils based on environment, climate, and other factors that affect the types of damage they are more likely to sustain. Before you buy insurance, make sure it covers everything you need for your home, including wildfires.

Some homes have a higher risk of wildfires, so you need to know before purchasing an insurance policy whether the coverage it offers can be tailored to your home. Some companies cover wildfire damage in their standard policy, while others do not. Some insurers won’t cover you at all if you live in a high-risk area.

We reviewed five companies that provide the best insurance for wildfires to help you decide and get the coverage you need to protect your home, family, and belongings.

The Best Insurance Providers for Wildfires

Policygenius

Like some of the other companies on our list, Policygenius acts not as a direct insurance provider but as an independent and unaffiliated insurance broker. It helps you compare policies online to find the right one for you.

Depending on which state you live in, Policygenius can find insurance companies that offer coverage to your area and compare policies from top insurance companies, like Allstate and State Farm.

While this company can find insurers that offer wildfire coverage with standard policies, it can also connect you with insurance providers that specialize in wildfire coverage. For example, if you live on the West Coast where your home may be at a higher risk of wildfires than other parts of the country, your standard policy may not give you enough coverage. Policygenius will find you an insurer specializing in wildfire coverage.

Policygenius can also get you insurance quotes without collecting your contact information. The company focuses on giving you insurance advice you can use rather than selling you insurance.

Since its founding in 2012, Policygenius has only worked with insurance companies with a Financial Stability Rating of at least an A, including those that offer wildfire insurance separately. Policygenius does not sell insurance on its own but will consider your location, budget, and coverage needs to help you find the best insurer(s) for your home.

Visit Policygenius or Read the Full Review

Lemonade

Lemonade, founded in 2015, operates on a non-traditional insurance model to make it as easy as possible for you to get wildfire insurance. It uses a transparent, simple process so that you can get insurance in five minutes easier than ordering a pizza, according to Lemonade’s website.

Lemonade acts as an insurance company and insurance agency, so you can get insurance directly through the company or find another insurance provider through them. You can connect with and get insurance from Lemonade using their iOS and Android apps or by visiting their website.

When it comes to wildfire insurance specifically, Lemonade offers homeowners and renters insurance coverage against 16 perils in California, including wildfire. Some of these are not covered under standard policies offered by major insurers.

If you find that Lemonade’s insurance meets your requirements, the company can make switching providers easy by taking care of the process for you. Its brokers will call your provider and switch your policy number over to Lemonade without any hassle for you.

Lemonade is a Public Benefit Corporation and a certified B-Corp that gives back unclaimed premiums with their yearly Giveback program. It also has a Financial Stability Rating of A.

This insurer serves 23 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, Germany, and the Netherlands. It also plans on expanding its wildfire insurance coverage to several other European countries in the future.

Visit Lemonade or Read the Full Lemonade Review

Allstate

As a household name in insurance, Allstate’s standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes fire damage among its perils in your dwelling coverage. The company also takes a few extra steps to ensure that your home stays protected.

Dwelling coverage encompasses fire damage to your home, but your policy also covers personal property damaged in a fire. You even have standard guest medical protection if someone outside your family is injured in a wildfire that impacts your home.

The amount of coverage you receive varies based on your location. Allstate assigns you an agent who lives in your area so that you have all the resources you need to get the best coverage at the best price. You can also find common claims that people make in your area on the Allstate website.

Allstate offers several discounts to make your coverage more affordable, including:

  • Multi-policy
  • Responsible payment
  • Claim-free
  • Welcome
  • Loyalty
  • Easy pay plan
  • Early signing
  • Protective device
  • Homebuyer

Visit Allstate

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual offers standard dwelling protections that cover wildfire damage. The company can also insure your business against wildfire, and their hazard insurance includes wildfire coverage.

You can find out how much you are likely to pay and how much Liberty Mutual will cover using its coverage calculator on the company website. The calculator will tell you how much coverage you will receive based on your age, the type of home you own, and your risk allowance.

Along with coverage, Liberty Mutual offers a wildfire action plan that helps you create checklists for wildfire preparation and protection, tells you what actions to take before and during a wildfire, and outlines recovery steps. This resource makes it easier for you to put your life back together and keep items organized after a fire.

Liberty Mutual claims it can save you $842 each year with discounts. Some of these discounts include:

  • Bundling
  • Online purchase
  • Homeowner
  • Claims-free
  • Safe homeowner
  • Early shopper
  • Newly purchased
  • Newly renovated
  • Multi-policy
  • Insured to value
  • Paperless policy
  • Preferred payment

Visit Liberty Mutual

Young Alfred

Young Alfred is a fully digital insurance comparison agency that operates differently than the rest. It helps clients make more informed insurance buying decisions by offering data and analytical information. Its comparison tool analyzes various data points to find the best options and prices based on your needs.

Above all, Young Alfred values backing up its recommendations with math and analyses, thereby showing you the numbers that tell you what kind of wildfire coverage you can get and who can provide it in your area.

Although Young Alfred is not a direct insurance provider, it will help you find one with the best wildfire insurance coverage. That includes coverage for high-risk areas, like California, that experience frequent wildfires.

Young Alfred only works with insurance companies with a rating of A- or better from AM Best or Demotech.

Visit Young Alfred

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wildfire Damage?

Homeowner’s insurance does cover wildfire damage under most standard policies, but only up to a certain amount. Your coverage varies based on where you live. For example, California has a higher wildfire risk than other parts of the country, which may lower the amount of coverage a company will offer you or result in complete denial of coverage.

Wildfire coverage is usually included in the dwelling portion of your policy. If you live in a high-risk area, however, you may need additional or specialized coverage not offered by most general insurance companies.

Because wildfire insurance has its limits, make sure you know those limits before purchasing a policy. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a smaller payout than needed if a wildfire damages your home. Make sure you also verify that your insurance policy covers wildfire damage at all, as some don’t.

Most wildfire insurance covers:

  • Home structure: Your policy includes the cost of rebuilding your home.
  • Personal belongings: Personal items you keep inside your home are covered under your standard policy.
  • Additional living expenses: If you need to stay somewhere other than your home for a while, your insurance can cover the cost of living there for a specified amount of time.

What Kind of Damage Does Wildfire Insurance Cover?

Wildfire insurance may not cover every type of damage imaginable to your home, but it does help in most circumstances. You can expect your policy to include:

  • Damage from fire and smoke
  • Damage to the building or dwelling structure
  • Damage to yard items like pools
  • Landscaping damage
  • Damage to or destruction of personal property and the contents of your home
  • Debris removal related to the wildfire
  • Living expenses if you need to stay outside your home in a hotel or other temporary arrangement

Your policy may also cover building code upgrades to improve levels of security or fire protection within the home. Not all policies go this far, however, so be sure to verify that you have this coverage as soon as possible.

For renters and condo owners, your coverage might change based on the requirements of your landlord or condo association. In general, your residential insurance should still cover your personal belongings and living expenses at a minimum.

Do All Insurance Companies Offer Wildfire Insurance?

While many companies include wildfire insurance in their standard policies, not all of them do. Most companies will only provide a certain amount of coverage, which varies based on your policy and provider.

You may need to purchase wildfire coverage as an add-on or separate policy if you live in a high-risk area and your standard policy does not give you enough coverage.

When Should I Get Additional Wildfire Insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, you’re most at risk of wildfires if you live in one of these states:

  • California
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Oregon
  • Florida
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Alabama

The Insurance Information Institute ranked these states as its top ten in terms of wildfire numbers per year. Other states, however, saw more acres burned or more homes at risk, despite fewer individual wildfires.

You should get additional wildfire insurance if you live in any of these states or in an area where the geography and climate indicate a higher risk.

Standard insurance companies do not specialize in wildfire insurance for high-risk areas and may deny you coverage. The underwriting guidelines on your policy will tell you whether the company you choose can insure your home.

If you need additional wildfire insurance, try working with non-admitted insurers. These companies specialize in insuring homes that general insurance companies will not due to their specific requirements.

What Causes Wildfires?

According to the National Park Service, humans cause almost 85% of wildfires. These fires often result from:

  • Unattended campfires
  • Burning debris like branches or leaves
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Improper equipment use
  • Irresponsible disposal of cigarettes
  • Arson

Some wildfires do happen due to natural causes. In most such cases, a long-lasting, hot lightning bolt strikes an area in a warm, dry climate that accelerates the blaze.

You can prevent wildfires by responsibly disposing of cigarettes and matches, monitoring equipment, controlling campfires, and keeping materials to extinguish fires on hand.

How Do I Know Whether My Home Is at Risk?

Insurance companies have different requirements to determine whether your home qualifies as being at risk of wildfire damage. They may place you in this category if:

  • You live in an area prone to natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes
  • You live in a place with high rates of crime, vandalism, or theft
  • Your home does not meet certain safety codes
  • You live in a warm, dry climate
  • Your area has an increased drought risk
  • Your area has a long fire season, like California and other West Coast locations

Living in these areas means your insurance company may consider you too much of a risk to insure and refuse to qualify you for their policies. You can determine your risk level with the U.S. Fire Administration, which has tools for you to find out your home’s risk and what you can do to lower it.

If your home is at risk, you should look into the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan, located in Los Angeles. FAIR covers homeowners who would otherwise be denied coverage.

FAIR also provides additional coverage beyond what your insurance can offer. This plan ensures that you have the amount of coverage you need based on your risk and the value of your home and possessions.

If you have FAIR insurance, you should shop for a new policy every year to try and find one that offers more comprehensive coverage.

How Can I Protect My Home Against Wildfire Damage?

Even if you live in an at-risk area, you can take some precautions to protect your home against wildfires. Doing so may also help you get insurance, as providers will see that you have made an effort to reduce your home’s risk in the event of a disaster.

When you want to protect your home against fire damage, take these measures:

  • Remove dead vegetation and trees surrounding your home
  • Keep tree branches away from your roof
  • Keep your home’s gutters and roof clean
  • Keep your yard clean and free of leaves and other debris
  • Store your firewood apart from your home
  • Invest in high-quality roofing materials with a Class A fire rating
  • Install metal angle flashing at the edge of your roof
  • Install multi-pane, tempered glass windows with screens

You can also mark zones around your house, so you know what is safe to store close to your home and what you should keep farther away. For example, you should maintain the areas closest to your house daily or weekly, whereas areas at the edge of your property may need less frequent care.

Protecting your home also means researching your insurance options. You should get standard homeowners insurance if possible, but if you can’t, consider FAIR. You may also consider companies that specialize in wildfire insurance.

While you cannot fireproof your home, you can take steps to make it more fire-resistant.

Bottom Line

When you need the best insurance for wildfires, shop around to find a company that offers the most comprehensive coverage within your budget. Each company offers different coverage, so make sure yours includes wildfire damage.

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Find the best homeowners insurance rates with Policygenius today

    If general insurance companies won’t cover your area, seek specialized coverage and take advantage of FAIR policies. Insurance is a vital step toward protecting your home from wildfires, but you may get better coverage when you maintain your property inside and out.

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