You know that your renters insurance protects you from risks listed in the policy. We call this “coverage on a named perils basis”. A “peril” is a type of loss that the policy protects your property from. “Named perils” just means that the policy covers your stuff against risks listed in the policy.
How well do you understand those perils? Do you know if there are exclusions? At Effective Coverage, we believe that understanding renters insurance should be easy. Reading your policy is important. Advice from experts can help you understand the policy better.
Let’s take an Augusta, GA Renters Insurance policy as an example. Georgia has over a million renters – that’s about twelve percent of the population. About forty-four percent of them have renters insurance. Only a few truly understand their policy before having a loss.
What Is The Peril Of Fire Or Lightning? How Is It A Danger To My Property?
Insurance policies often tend to over-explain and become wordy. But when it comes to the peril of fire or lightning, they say little. Let’s fix that.
A fire is the uncontrolled burning of something in your apartment. If that fire damages personal property, you have a fire loss. The cause of the accidental fire isn’t important. Renters insurance covers cooking fires the same as fires caused by faulty electrical wiring. Liability coverage deals with responsibility for the fire. You can learn more about liability and renters insurance here.
Lightning is an electrical discharge between clouds, or between clouds and the ground. The latter is the one you’re concerned about, of course. Lightning will take the fastest path to the ground. That includes finding convenient paths through things in its way. Roofing shingles are not conductive, but satellite dishes and vent pipes are. So are gutters. Homes and apartments see damage from lightning strikes more often than you think. Significant damage can result.
The National Lightning Safety Institute defines a direct strike to a home as any lightning strike within 10 meters. According to their figures, lightning strike one out of every 200 homes each year. If you’re curious about the math, you’ll find a more complete discussion here.
How Does Renters Insurance Protect Me Against Fire Or Lightning?
Fire or lightning is a broad peril. The fire could be from almost any cause. Lightning doesn’t have to strike your apartment to damage or destroy the building. Lightning can blow the roof off a building, or set it on fire. Your neighbor could cause a fire by turning away from the stove. If the fire spreads to your apartment it would impact your property. That’s a covered loss.
Renters insurance offers replacement cost coverage for your personal property. If fire or lightning damages your property, that’s likely to be a covered loss. You’ll be able to buy new property to replace the damaged or destroyed items. Again, the cause of the fire isn’t relevant, save for intentional fires.
After a fire, your landlord may not have a vacant unit available for you. Renters insurance protects you with additional living expense coverage as well. This loss of use coverage pays for a hotel or somewhere else for you to stay while the landlord makes repairs.
This article focuses on property coverage, but renters insurance offers another type of protection. If the fire is your fault, there may be damage to the building or to other residents. You need protection from the costs of those bodily injury or property damage losses. You need protection from the costs of defending against those claims. Liability coverage on your renters insurance provides both.
Do I Have To Try To Stop The Loss?
Your Augusta, GA Renters Insurance policy mentions your duty to mitigate the damages. However, you’re not trained to fight a fire. Your obligation to stop the damages ends where a risk to your health and safety begins. If you have a fire extinguisher near your stove, feel free to use it if doing so is safe. If the fire continues to spread, it’s time to get out.
One way renters insurance protects you against fire or lightning is by replacing property. There is no need to consider what’s worth saving, or whether you have time to go back in. Yes, your property is valuable. But renters insurance can replace it. The only thing you should focus on in a fire is getting out alive. A shocking number of fire deaths involve people becoming trapped while rescuing property
What’s Not Covered?
- Fires intentionally set by an insured
- Property in excess of the policy limit on your declarations page
- Losses from fires caused by illegal activity, such as operating a drug lab
It’s worth noting that the first and third points above apply only to that person’s policy. If your neighbor starts a fire on purpose, that impacts your neighbor’s coverage. Your policy would still pay for your losses from that fire. If your neighbor starts a fire by making hash oil with butane, your policy will still cover your losses. You had nothing to do with the intentional or illegal activity. Your policy still covers your fire loss.
Should I Consider Extra Coverages Or Endorsements For Better Protection Against Fire Or Lightning?
You should always have a home inventory. After a traumatic loss from fire or lightning, could you list everything you owned and its value? Most people can’t. Keep the list in the cloud somewhere along with pictures, and the claims process will be much easier.
Fire coverage is broad enough that you rarely need extra endorsements. You do need to make sure that you have enough coverage. Verify your home inventory at least annually and add up the total value. If you’re not covered for at least the total, you need more coverage!
You’ll actually find you have more broad coverage in a fire than you would in most other losses. Fire is a scenario where the Georgia policy form invalidates the mold exclusion. Fire losses often soak everything in water for days. Then there is a wait while they determine the cause. If there’s a mold or fungi loss subsequent to a fire, you could have coverage for that part of the loss as well.
Learning more about the peril of fire or lightning is easy. So is finding out just how affordable renters insurance can be. Simply reach out to an Effective Coverage insurance expert. Coverage is quick and easy.
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