For Consumers

Wildfires and homeowner insurance

Your insurance

Whether your home is located in a suburban, city or rural area, Washington state homeowners need to be aware of potential wildfires during drought-like conditions. When it's hot and dry, everywhere becomes a fire threat. Also, in rural isolated areas, firefighters may have a hard time reaching your home or accessing water.

Homeowner insurance should cover all fires (PDF, 53.96 KB), including wildfires, unless the policyholder intentionally sets the fire.

You always have the right to shop around for other coverage if your policy is not renewed or canceled due to wildfire risk. You can look up licensed insurance agents and companies on our website, and you can call our consumer hotline with any questions at 800-562-6900.

If you cannot find coverage for your home, you can call the Washington state FAIR plan at 425-745-9808. If you cannot find coverage for your vehicle, you can call the Washington state Assigned Risk Plan at 800-227-4659.

Homeowner tips

Review your policy. Check your coverage regularly to make sure it includes adequate replacement coverage, in the event you suffer a loss. If you’ve lived in your home for a long time and/or made updates to your house, it’s a good idea to let your insurer know so they can update your policy to make sure you have enough coverage.

Make sure you have enough insurance coverage. Buy special coverage to protect specific valuables, such as jewelry, fine art and other items that may have limited coverage under your homeowner policy. If you’re not sure if an item is covered, ask your insurer or agent. 

Prepare a household inventory. Your insurer will need proof of the items you owned to consider paying claims. To get a quick inventory, videotape all the items in your home. Open closets, drawers and cupboards to make a video inventory. Make sure the video shows the date and time stamp, so it reflects when you owned the items. Then be sure to store the video on an external device, like a thumb drive and keep it away from your home, such as a safety deposit box. Consider downloading a home inventory app to help you document your possessions.

Insurers may require your home to meet certain criteria - insurers base homeowner coverage and rates on certain assumptions that include:

  • Fire protection available to your home, such as fire hydrants and the location of the fire department nearest to you.
  • Whether your home has electricity and running water, etc.

Protect your home and limit your home's fire exposure by:

  • Clearing a natural firebreak between your home and outbuildings, trees, bushes, leaves, wood piles, uncut fields and flammable materials.
  • Installing a water pump or having access to a nearby water source if you're in a rural area without fire hydrants.
  • Using fire-resistant roofing or building materials.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has more information on how to protect yourself and your home from wildfires.