When you buy home insurance, it typically protects against fire in addition to other threats such as water damage and theft. Home fire insurance is typically not needed if you have a standard home insurance policy. However, if you own a business premise or public building—particularly one at high risk of fire, such as a restaurant—it’s a good idea to buy additional fire insurance to make sure you’re covered in event of a fire.
Standard fire insurance covers your property and its contents comprehensively against damage caused to your property by fire and smoke. However, the exact terms of coverage vary depending on your policy, and if you run a business with particular risk of fire, a standard property insurance policy may not be enough. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for standard fire insurance.
Look into the extra features. Don’t assume anything is covered under your policy. Insurance companies often offer extras on an a-la-carte basis, so you can add on extra coverage for different considerations. Features that may not be included in a standard fire insurance policy include legal protection, equipment if it’s particularly costly and kept in a high-risk area, damage caused to merchandise and costs incurred from employee injury, and old-for-new cover—where damaged equipment is replaced with new equipment at current market value prices. Extra coverage will cost more, but it may be worth the price.
Learn about their claims procedure. Some companies send out representatives and require extensive paperwork to pay out on a claim. Others will simply deal with your claim by phone. Find out what the standard procedure is for filing claims and inspecting property before you sign up with a fire insurance carrier.
Find out how you can save. Nearly every insurance company offers incentives for certain commitments and installments you make that improve the fire safety of your building. Your fire insurance carrier may offer discounts if you install a fire sprinkler system or train your employees in fire and property loss prevention tactics. You can also save by increasing the amount of excess, or the amount you have to pay yourself before your coverage activates, on your policy.
Compare costs. Not every policy is created equally. More expensive policies typically include more extras, but may not—it’s worth reading the fine print. There’s no substitute for going online or calling around to get a range of different quotes and comparing cost and coverage of different policies.
Fire insurance is a good idea for commercial and public properties, particularly those at high risk of fire. Look into standard fire insurance policies from a variety of companies. Take into account what’s covered and what isn’t, and take stock of your property to determine your needs. Never assume anything is included in the policy without checking first, and compare coverage and pricing from a variety of different companies before settling on one. Ideally, your fire insurance policy will be there when you need it—and not a financial burden when you don’t.