It’s a sad fact of life but, when it comes to the causes of accidental damage around the home, one of the most common is fire. There are two main reasons. The first stems from the materials used to build your dream home. The sad reality is there’s a heck of a lot of wood in most modern buildings. It starts with wooden floors and ends with wooden frames to support a pitched roof. Why is there so much stuff that will burn? It comes down to one simple fact. Large parts of North America are covered with trees and this makes it a cheap building material. Not only is it quick and easy to use, but it also allows for considerable flexibility in the shape of the resulting construction. Better still, just as it’s cheap to put up your home, it’s equally cheap to clear the site and put up another one should something go seriously wrong. Add in the fact that most furniture and fittings are made out of wood or have a wooden frame, and you have the recipe for a first-class fire.
The second problem is the number of chances you have for starting a fire. Many people rely on gas for cooking which brings the equivalent of explosives into the building. If there’s a leak, a single spark can produce a fireball. Should you be cooking using oil, a single moment of carelessness can set the kitchen on fire. Then you come to the electrical wiring. How long ago did you have the wiring installed? The statistics show an increasing risk of fire through a short circuit as your home ages. Finally, there are all those other accidents around the home, in your garage or yard where something catches alight. We didn’t get to external sources like a lightning strike, a neighbor whose private fire spreads to your home, or the passing psychopath who thinks it would be fun to watch your home burn.
So, when you come to insurance, there will be many questions asked about what building materials have been used. Then come the slightly less obvious questions. Did you know, for example, that most insurers hike your premiums if you live more than five miles from the nearest firestation. Then we come to all those romantic towns and country homes that rely on volunteer firefighters. Insurers rate the risks based on the time it takes for a rig to get to a fire within a five mile radius of the station. The rating is good if the volunteers live on site. This gets them in the rig within a minute or so of the alarm being raised. But if the volunteers have to travel to the firestation, this delays the response and increases the risk your home is ash before they arrive.
So before you buy a “new” home, always ask about how far the property is from the local firestation and confirm a professional team of firefighters who live in the station. That way, when you ask for homeowners insurance quotes, you avoid a heart attack when you see the premium rates. Remember, home insurance is all about the degree of risk and, when it comes to fire, the risks can be high. Look for homes close to rescue services and with as little wood in the construction as possible.