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Home fires: what can I do to avoid a house fire?


When  people think of home fires, images of California wildfires destroying everything in their path come to mind. However, the statistics of home fires paint a very different picture. In fact, the answer to the question “What can I do to avoid having a house” is that there are several steps you can take.  Surprisingly, statistics show that having a house fire is largely “up to you.”

Start by finding out how good your insurance current is. It’s always important to buy insurance from a good insurance. Just click the buttons below to find out how good your insurance companies are.


How can a house fire be “Up to Me?”

Statistics on house fires show that even though accidental, most home fires are caused by the homeowner or the renter. Here’s a breakdown of the most common causes for a house fire:

  • Cooking, 56%
  • Heating, 16%
  • Electrical malfunction, 9%
  • Other forms of carelessness, 8%
  • Open flame, 6%
  • Intentional, 5%

The Frequency of Home Fires is Decreasing

Fortunately, home fires are decreasing in frequency. Using a five-year moving average, the frequency of home fires has steadily declined, as shown below:

  • 2005 to 2009, 0.49 claims per 100 policies
  • 2009 to 2013, 0.4 claims per 100 policies
  • 2010 to 2014, 0.38 claims per 100 policies

The Number of Home Fires is Still Too High

Unconfirmed estimates are that there are 374,000 house fires per year. These fires lead to 2,600 deaths and nearly 13,000 injuries. By eliminating the categories of cooking, heating, other forms of carelessness and open flames, these numbers could be reduced from 374,000 to 52,360. The number of deaths could be reduced from 2,600 down to 364. Finally, the number of injuries could be reduced from 13,000 to only 1,800.

While the long-term trend is good, homeowners and renters being more careful will lead to a significant improvement.

How good is your insurance if you suffer a home fire?

Until now, people had no way of knowing how good their insurance was, until it was too late. After a home fire occurs, some companies pay the replacement cost with no drama. However, some companies force policy holders to hire lawyers and fight for years to recover the damages. Finally, the data exists on how good every company is about paying claims.

If the rating you got from the buttons at the top of this post were good, tell a friend. If they weren’t good, click the buttons below to find the best car insurance companies and best home insurance companies in your state.


About ValChoice Ratings

ValChoice rates every car and home insurance company. Ratings are based on data filed with state departments of insurance. Data collected by state insurance departments is important for two reasons: 1) The data is high quality. 2) ValChoice does not depend on data provided by insurance companies to rate them.


U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA

ISO, a Verisk Analytics Company

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