In Texas, will homeowners insurance pay for wildfire damage?

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Fort Worth firefighters use a defensive attack on a house at 2408 Timberline on Jan. 4, 2017.

Fort Worth firefighters use a defensive attack on a house at 2408 Timberline on Jan. 4, 2017.

Special to the Star-Telegram

On Tuesday morning the Texas A&M Forest Service responded to a wildfire at Possum Kingdom Lake, 80 miles west of Fort Worth. Homes were evacuated and several were set ablaze by the more than 500-acre fire.

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The wildfires are happening during a time when the central United States is experiencing a prolonged high ridge pressure which has pushed warm air toward the Earth’s surface. North Texas has experienced little to no rain breaks, making the land dry and susceptible to a fast wildfire spread.

Wildfires have been a growing issue in Texas for the last few decades. According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, wildfires are now a statewide threat as opposed to a rural threat.

Between 2015-2019, United States fire departments responded to an average of 346,800 home structure fires per year which caused an annual average of 2,620 deaths, 11,070 injuries and $7.3 billion in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Does homeowners insurance cover wildfire damage?

Insurance providers like Allstate will typically cover wildfire damage to homes, personal property and detached structures, but some policies may not be offered in areas at risk of wildfires.

According to Progressive, its dwelling coverage is not enough to cover wildfire damage and an extended replacement cost coverage may be needed.

Nationwide offers built-in coverage for fire-related damages in its homeowners insurance policy and USAA encourages homeowners to file a claim if their home or property is damaged by a wildfire.

Are there discounts available for wildfire coverage?

USAA offers insurance premium discounts for communities impacted by wildfires and recognized by the Firewise USA program. Texas has several Firewise sites, including near Lake Palo Pinto.

Are personal belongings protected from wildfires?

Insurance companies often offer personal property coverage. In the case of personal property damage, Allstate suggests filing a proof of loss claim.

Receipts, photos, bank statements, online registrations all count toward acceptable documents when filing a proof of loss claim.

Does auto insurance cover fire damage?

Yes. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from fire, smoke or explosion damage.

While damage and repairs due to fires are covered, not all auto insurance policies include the cost of a rental vehicle. Check your insurance provider’s policy for rental coverage.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Megan Cardona is a service journalism reporter at the Star-Telegram covering policy, government programs, community resources and more to help residents navigate everyday life in Tarrant County and North Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where she worked at the campus paper, The Shorthorn, for two years.





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