Will My Homeowner's Policy Cover a Holiday Decoration Fire?

With the holiday season right around the corner, it's almost time to unpack the festive decorations. However, homeowners should be aware that holiday decoration fires cost an average of over $19 million in property damage annually. Candles, holiday lights, and overloaded outlets have the potential to start a devastating fire. The resulting injuries and accidents not only put a damper on festivities, but they can also be very costly.Fortunately, homeowners insurance typically covers fire damage. Policyholders are advised to review their coverage before the holidays to ensure they have adequate protection. Additionally, taking a few precautions can help prevent any fire-related holiday mishaps.

Homeowner's Coverage and Holiday Fires

Usually, a homeowners insurance policy covers most damage caused by holiday fires. However, policyholders should know their limits and deductibles. For those with older policies, it's important to make sure the current limits are sufficient to protect the dwelling and its contents. Typical homeowners policies cover the following:
  • Dwelling and structural damage – The cost to repair or rebuild a home after a fire includes the structure itself, plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC. Detached structures, such as sheds, garages, and fences are also included in coverage. Homeowners should check their limits annually and raise coverage as necessary.
  • Loss of personal property – Fires can spread quickly, resulting in loss or damage of personal If holiday gifts, appliances, clothing, and other items catch fire, homeowner's insurance can help pay for replacements. Homeowners can check their policies to see if they're covered for the actual cash value or replacement cost of personal property. The actual cash value will reimburse policyholders for the depreciated value of items. The replacement cost option provides compensation for the cost of new items.
  • Liability Lawsuits – If a holiday fire results in the injury of a guest or the loss of their personal property, homeowners insurance will pay for the incurring costs. Limits and deductibles apply here as well.
  • Loss of use – After a fire, a dwelling may become uninhabitable while it's undergoing repairs. Homeowner's policies can pay for temporary housing and living expenses.
Homeowners are typically covered in the event of a holiday fire, but fire is just one hazard that poses a threat. Find out what's not included in a homeowner's policy in the following article, Homeowner’s Insurance: Exclusions You Need to Know.

When to Get Extra Coverage

In some cases, a homeowner's existing policy may not provide full protection. Additional coverage and endorsements are available that can offer policyholders adequate funds to replace and repair their dwelling and contents after a fire. The following protection can benefit homeowners most.
  • Content replacement cost – With this additional policy, homeowners receive reimbursement for the full replacement cost of their property. Standard home insurance policies only cover the actual cash value, which factors in depreciation. Limits and deductibles still apply.
  • Additional replacement cost -- When the value of the property exceeds the limits of content replacement cost coverage, additional replacement cost coverage can provide extra protection.
  • Green home – Typically, a standard homeowners policy will only pay for the costs of conventional building materials. Green home coverage will cover the cost of eco-friendly materials.
  • Valuable items – Some personal property may require individual coverage. Valuable items such as artwork, jewelry, electronics, and musical instruments need high protection limits.
Learn more about Homeowner's Insurance Add-ons That Will Further Protect You.

5 Tips to Prevent Holiday Fires

A comprehensive homeowners insurance policy offers protection against holiday fires in most circumstances. However, taking a few preventative measures can ensure the holiday festivities are not interrupted by an insurance claim. Following are five simple steps to take to prevent holiday fire hazards.
  • Test fire detectors – Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order before the holiday baking begins.
  • Check outlets – Avoid overloading electrical outlets and only use outdoor extension cords and lights for home exterior decorating.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand – Check the date of the fire extinguisher to ensure it's still functional and review instructions for use.
  • Take care with candles – Candles are a leading cause of holiday fires. Always keep lit candles away from children, pets, and flammable objects, such as Christmas trees and decorations. Before leaving the house, make sure candles are extinguished.
  • Avoid fryer accidents – One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner could make is putting a frozen turkey into the fryer. The resulting explosion could cause a devastating fire or injuries. The best place to fry a turkey is outdoors and several feet away from any flammable objects.
To learn more about Homeowner's Insurance, contact the professionals at  at (850) 942-7760. Our licensed insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.

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