Does Renters Insurance Cover Wildfires?

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Does Renters Insurance Cover Wildfires?

If you live in a wildfire-prone area, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your property against potential damages. If you rent your home, one way to protect your property and personal belongings against damages is to purchase renters insurance.

Wildfires are among the hazards that are covered by most renters insurance policies. If your home and personal property are damaged, your renters insurance policy may help you pay to repair damages up to your coverage limits.

Here’s everything you need to know about whether or not renters insurance covers wildfires.

What is Renters Insurance & What Does it Cover?

Much like home insurance, renters insurance can help cover costs to repair property damage and replace your personal belongings if they are damaged by a covered peril.

Renters insurance typically covers damages caused by:

  • Fires
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Some types of water damage
  • And more

If you suffer damages due to one of these covered perils, your insurance policy may help cover a portion or all of your expenses.

On top of paying to repair property damage and replace personal belongings, your renters insurance policy will also typically cover your temporary living expenses if a fire causes your home or apartment to become temporarily uninhabitable. This is known as loss of use coverage.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Wildfires?

Generally speaking, renters insurance policies include fire damage as a named peril, which means they do cover damage from wildfires. If your policy doesn’t have named perils, then you likely have an all-risk policy, which also covers fires.

Renters insurance differs from homeowners insurance, though, in that it does not cover your actual dwelling. When renting, your landlord’s landlord insurance policy should cover any damages done to your home’s structure, so you shouldn’t have to worry about covering repair expenses.

Renters insurance policies typically cover fires from any source. Whether the fire originates from inside your home or a wildfire spreads to your home, your claim should be approved.

Personal property coverage

Renters insurance policies include personal property coverage, which can help you pay to replace your personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by a wildfire.

Your losses will be covered up to your coverage limit, so it’s important to ensure your coverage limit is high enough to replace all of your belongings. Make sure to review your policy’s declarations page to find more information about your coverage limits. You should take inventory of all of your belongings to help understand what it would cost to replace your destroyed items.

When you make a claim, you’ll also have to pay a deductible before your insurance pays for any damages. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and a wildfire causes $5,000 in damages to your personal property, you would pay $1,000 and your insurance policy would pay out the remaining $4,000.

It’s also important to remember that your personal belongings don’t have to be inside your home or apartment to be covered. Personal property coverage applies to your belongings wherever they are. If a fire spreads from your home to your car, for example, and destroys belongings left inside your car, then your personal property coverage would still apply.

Loss of use coverage

Loss of use coverage, also called additional living expenses, is another coverage included in your renters insurance policy that can help you recover after a wildfire.

Loss of use coverage can help you pay for any temporary living expenses you incur if you have to temporarily move out of your home or apartment after a wildfire or any other covered peril. This can include hotel costs, food costs, and more.

This coverage also typically applies if you are forced to evacuate your home by local authorities due to a wildfire. Even if the fire never reaches your home or apartment, your renters insurance policy may still help cover your temporary living expenses during an evacuation.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Smoke Damage?

Yes, smoke damage is typically included as a covered peril in most renters insurance policies.

If personal property is damaged by smoke after a wildfire, your renters insurance policy should help pay to repair or replace any items impacted.

How to Protect Against Wildfire Damage

Renters can implement several precautionary measures to help protect their homes against wildfires. Not only can these protective measures mitigate damages caused by fires, but they can also make you eligible for renters insurance discounts in some cases.

If you rent a home and have permission from your landlord to do so, consider taking these steps to protect your home against wildfires:

  • Install a sprinkler system to protect against ignition and mitigate damages
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher if you do not already have one
  • Remove flammable objects from around your home

While renting, your landlord may limit what changes you can personally make to your home or apartment, but if possible, implementing these precautionary measures can help significantly reduce damages caused by wildfires and other hazards.