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Structural fires are one of the most basic and more common risks that properties are exposed to, and they’re a risk that every California property owner must consider. When coverage isn’t available via another insurance policy, dwelling fire insurance might help provide protection in the event of a fire.
Dwelling fire insurance is specialized property insurance that generally provides coverage for structural fires. The insurance provides a fairly narrow set of protections, but those narrow protections can be extremely important in the event of a fire.
Most California property owners should insure their buildings against structural fires, and many owners who have financed their buildings are required by loan terms to do so. While coverage for fires is broadly available through other insurance policies, property owners might need to get this coverage if another policy type don’t offer five coverage or provides only limited protection.
When no other policy provides sufficient fire coverage, homeowners, landlords, investors and businesses might all need a dwelling fire policy.
Homeowners insurance usually does cover structural fires, but the coverage limit can be too low in some cases. If a house’s value or rebuilding costs exceed the fire coverage limit of a homeowners policy, a supplemental dwelling fire policy might be appropriate.
This doesn’t happen too often, but it may be an issue with especially expensive homes, highly customized homes and historic houses.
Business owners policies and commercial package policies are two types of commercial insurance policies that provide multiple coverages. Coverage for structural fires is usually included in both of these policy types, but a couple of situations might still call for dwelling fire coverage.
First, some of these commercial policies already have dwelling fire coverage as one of their included protections. The coverage may be included when other risks are addressed by other coverages, but those coverages don’t include structural fires. Including a specific dwelling fire coverage can be the best way to include protection against structural fires in these policies.
Second, sometimes these commercial policies offer protection against structural fires through a broader coverage. The broader coverage may not provide as much protection as is desired, however. When this is the case, a separate dwelling fire policy may be purchased to supplement the protection that’s already afforded.
Dwelling fire coverage normally doesn’t include protection against wildfires, for these are different from the fires that electrical shorts, burnt dinners and forgotten candles cause. Coverage for wildfires usually must be procured via a wildfire-specific policy when the protection is needed. (Exactly what structural fires dwelling fire policies will cover are dependent upon a policy’s terms, conditions and exclusions.)
Premiums for dwelling fire policies vary, with factors like a building’s location, size and construction playing a role in the rate calculation. These policies generally are affordable, though, because they provide narrowly defined protection.
An independent insurance agent can help property owners compare quotes for their buildings. Unlike captive agents, independent agents have the flexibility to shop policies from multiple insurance companies that operate in the state.
For help insuring California buildings against fire, contact the independent insurance agents at Crusberg Fuller. Our agents have the expertise to help you find the rights dwelling fire insurance for your buildings, and we can recommend the best policies regardless of what insurance company offers them.
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