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Time to Check Your Fire Insurance Policy

The wildfires that have raged through Southern California and other parts of the nation recently should serve as a horrifying wakeup call for homeowners who may not be sure how well they are covered for fire under their homeowners insurance. Fire insurance that protects your dwelling can be included in your homeowners insurance as a "named peril" or can be purchased by itself. To save money, some people buy Dwelling Fire (DP-1) policy which protects you from dangers that you specify, such as lightning or wildfire.

Homeowners Insurance Fire Policy
Unless specifically excluded by your homeowners policy, it will compensate you for fire damage to your home caused by just about any reason, from windstorm, volcanic eruption, and vehicles owned by the policy holder. If a possible cause of dwelling fire is specifically excluded, such as earthquake, you will be refused compensation. It bears repeating to remind homeowners to make sure they ask for specific coverage, otherwise, they may be making an incorrect assumption about their homeowners policy.

Not All Fire Insurance Policies are the Same.
Keep in mind that a policy that gives you the cash value of the lost property is different from one that gives you the replacement value. Replacement value may be the wise choice unless you own expensive art or jewelry, in which case there are limits set by the insurer. Not only is the type of coverage important, but keeping the policy current is also vital. Don't expect to get the full value of your home unless your policy reflects any recent expensive upgrades to your home.

Estimating Fire Damage
The losses one can suffer due to a home fire can range from superficial to catastrophic. In many instances the losses are incalculable, but in most, a dollar amount can be estimated. Estimating the dollar loss caused by a house fire can be easier if you keep accurate records of your possessions. As mentioned above, an annual update to your homeowners and fire insurance, as well as compulsive record-keeping will make the job of estimating your losses easier. You and your spouse can streamline the process by videotaping the contents and recording serial numbers of all your valuables. A single videotape can be stored at another location and provide a helpful record of everything in your home. Possessions can for the most part be replaced. Let's hope that's the only loss you ever sustain in the event of a house fire.