Fires can happen in any part of the house, but the basement is one of the most dangerous areas. If you have a basement, having little to no windows and having only one point of entry could make it difficult to escape if there is a fire.
Crews fighting a potential blaze could also face challenges if they are trying to navigate areas full of boxes and storage items. If a basement is unfurnished and has exposed ceilings, a fire can compromise floor joists and floorboards of the floor above – collapsing into the basement.
To help avoid a potential fire in your basement, MAPFRE and the U.S. Fire Administration have a number of recommendations:
- Install a smoke alarm in the basement and test it regularly
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm if you have oil, gas, or wood-burning equipment in the basement
- Keep stairs free of clutter in the event you need to escape in an emergency
- Keep the burner access doors on gas water heaters and gas furnaces closed to prevent flames from escaping and starting a fire
- Maintain easy access to your fuse box or circuit breaker panel
- Keep oily rags in airtight containers and away from heat sources
- Keep anything else that can burn at least 3 feet away from the furnace, oil burner, wood stoves, water heaters and other heat-generating equipment
- Clean clothes dryer lint filters after every use and clean the dryer vent ductwork every year
- Do not store trash in the basement
Would my insurance cover my basement in a fire?
A standard homeowner’s policy with MAPFRE Insurance will usually cover losses should certain events like a major fire, heavy rain, or heavy snow damage your home’s interior or exterior. Things typically not covered by your policy would be general wear and tear, damage from lack of maintenance, and damage caused by remodeling your home.
If your basement is damaged by fire, you may be covered under the following:
- Dwelling Coverage: This coverage is part of your homeowners insurance policy and it may help pay for the repair of the physical structure of your home if your basement is damaged by a covered hazard.
- Other Structures: This would not cover any damage to the basement of your main home structure, however if your fence, detached garage, or shed is also damaged, this coverage will help to pay for repair or replacement of structures other than your home.
- Personal Property: If items in your basement are damaged or destroyed, this coverage could pay to replace certain items.
Protective Device Discount
Under Dwelling coverage, if the Premises Alarm or Fire Protection System Endorsement is added, MAPFRE acknowledges the installation of an alarm system and/or automatic sprinkler system approved by MAPFRE for the location included on your home insurance policy. In exchange, you would agree to maintain the system or systems in working order and to let MAPFRE know promptly of any change, including removal, made to the system or systems.
Review your homeowner’s insurance policy
For your peace of mind, it’s best to review your existing homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure you have the proper coverage to repair, rebuild or replace any parts of your home before any kind of disaster strikes. Among some of the things you can do to prepare are:
- Inventory your home (Take photos and write down descriptions and model numbers of items in the event of a loss)
- Keep vital records in a safe place
- Store insurance policy nearby
Make sure you have the right coverage for your home insurance with MAPFRE by talking to an independent agent in your state. And if you’re not insured with us yet, you can always get a fast, free quote online in Massachusetts today to see how much you could save!