Between 2016 and 2020, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said fire departments responded to an estimated 343,100 home structure fires, which caused $7.6 billion in direct property damage. Of that damage, 26% of reported fires take place in U.S. homes and 4% of fires took place in garages.
Because there are flammable liquids, combustibles, electrical tools, and gas appliances inside, garage fires tend to spread farther and cause more damage than other home areas.
You can safeguard your garage in several ways to prevent the risk of fire. Among recommendations from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are:
- Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane and varnishes in a shed away from your home
- Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances
- Plug only one charging appliance into an outlet
- Don’t use an extension cord when charging an appliance
Another thing you can do is install a heat alarm in the garage, which will sound if the temperature rises too high. You can also install an attic hatch cover if you have attic access from your garage.
Should a fire occur in your garage or any part of your home, the USFA recommends having an up-to-date “ABC type” fire extinguisher in your household. Only people who have been trained in a fire extinguisher’s proper use and maintenance should operate one, but your local fire department can provide this type of training.
Would insurance cover a garage 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.
Should your garage be 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 if your garage is attached to your home if your garage is damaged by a covered hazard.
- Other Structures: If you have a free-standing or detached garage that is damaged, this coverage will help to pay for repair or replacement of structures other than your home. This would also include other structures on your property such as fences or sheds.
- Personal Property: If items in your garage are damaged or destroyed, this coverage would 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, you should understand your existing homeowner’s insurance policy and ensure you have the proper coverage to repair, rebuild or replace any parts of your home before any potential disaster strikes. Some things you can do to prepare are:
- Inventory your home (Taking photos and writing down descriptions and model numbers of items will help in the event of a loss)
- Keep vital records in a safe place
- Store insurance policy nearby
As always, ensure you have the right insurance coverage for your home with MAPFRE by talking to an independent agent in your state. If you’re not yet insured with us, you can always get a fast, free quote online in Massachusetts today to see how much you could save!