Fireproofing: Essential Tips for Protecting Your Home

In less than 30 seconds, the smallest flame can turn into a raging fire—and it takes just minutes for black smoke and flames to engulf a home.1 While no home can be made completely fireproof, proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage and increase the chances of survival for both the structure and its occupants. Here are our expert strategies for fireproofing your home, including advice on insurance coverage should the worst happen.

Understanding Fire Risks

Before diving into fireproofing measures, it’s crucial to understand the specific fire risks associated with your home structure and location. Urban environments are particularly susceptible to accidental fires due to the density of construction. Assessing local fire risks, building materials, and household features can provide a comprehensive understanding of your home’s vulnerabilities.

For instance, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were approximately 382,500 residential fires in 2022, causing around 2,760 deaths and $10.9 billion in property damage.2 Unsurprisingly, cooking fires peak during the evening hours, when people were likely preparing dinner. But fortunately, due to better safety and fireproofing practices, many of which we will mention here, home fire deaths in 2022 were 48% lower than in 1980.2 Let’s aim to get those numbers down even further!

Fire-Resistant Building Materials and Design

Selecting fire-resistant building materials and designing your home with fire safety in mind can dramatically improve its resistance to fire. For roofing, it’s recommended to use Class A fire-rated materials such as metal, clay tiles, or asphalt shingles.3 Ensure the roof is clear of debris like leaves and branches, as these can easily ignite.

For siding, choose fire-resistant materials like fiber cement, stucco, or brick.4 Windows should be double-pane or made of tempered glass, as these are less likely to shatter in high heat. Consider installing metal screens to prevent embers from entering. Additionally, use metal mesh screens on all vents to prevent embers from entering the attic and other vulnerable areas. Enclosing eaves with fire-resistant materials further reduces the risk of fire spreading to the roof.

Interior Safety Measures

Interior safety measures are just as important in preventing a fire from starting or spreading. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Test them monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. Keep fire extinguishers in key locations such as the kitchen, garage, and near bedrooms, and ensure household members are trained in their use. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, underscoring the importance of these devices.5

When buying or building a home, fire-resistant materials for your walls, ceilings, and floors, like gypsum board, provide a certain level of fire resistance. Ensure your electrical system is up to code, avoid overloading circuits, and replace frayed or damaged cords immediately. A professional electrician should conduct a safety inspection to identify and rectify potential hazards.

Advanced Fire Detection and Prevention Technology

Modern technology offers advanced solutions for fire detection and prevention. Home automation systems can monitor for smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide, providing real-time alerts to your smartphone. Some systems can even automatically shut off the gas supply or activate sprinkler systems in case of a fire.

Smart smoke detectors connect to your home automation system and send alerts to your phone, while heat detectors provide additional detection in areas where smoke detectors might not be ideal, such as kitchens and garages. Water leak sensors can detect leaks from fire suppression systems, preventing water damage. According to a study by the NFPA, homes equipped with automatic fire sprinklers and monitored fire alarms experience 60% less damage from fires compared to those without such systems.6

Community Involvement

Fireproofing your home is part of a larger community effort. While summer is wildfire season, it pays to plan ahead any month of the year. Participate in local fire safety initiatives, support fire management policies, and collaborate with neighbors to create a fire-adapted community. Community-wide efforts can significantly reduce the overall risk of fire spreading in your area. Engage in programs like Firewise USA to learn about fire prevention and risk reduction.7 Work with neighbors to create firebreaks and manage vegetation, and establish a neighborhood watch system for alerting each other in case of a fire.

The Right Insurance Coverage

Ensure that your home insurance policy adequately covers fire damage. Keep an updated inventory of your belongings, complete with photographs and receipts, stored in a safe location or digitally in the cloud. This documentation will be essential for claims if a fire occurs.

A recent study revealed that 59% of homeowners are underinsured for fire damage, making this step crucial.8 Review your policy annually and update it as necessary to cover renovations, new belongings, and increased construction costs.

Insurance plays a crucial role in fireproofing your home, providing financial protection in the event of fire damage. Here are several recommendations to ensure your insurance coverage is adequate:

  1. Review Your Policy Regularly: Ensure that your home insurance policy covers fire damage comprehensively. Review it annually to keep up with changes in property values and construction costs.
  2. Understand Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value: Ensure your policy is based on the replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your home. Replacement cost covers the amount needed to rebuild your home, while actual cash value considers depreciation, often resulting in lower payouts.
  3. Document Your Belongings: Keep an updated inventory of your belongings, complete with photographs, descriptions, and receipts. Store this inventory in a safe location or digitally in the cloud. This documentation will be essential for claims if a fire occurs.
  4. Update Coverage for Renovations: Any home renovations or additions should be reported to your insurance company to adjust your coverage accordingly. This ensures that new upgrades are covered in the event of a fire.
  5. Consider Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage: Ensure your policy includes Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage, which pays for temporary housing and living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable due to a fire.9
  6. Evaluate Liability Coverage: Liability coverage can protect you if a fire in your home spreads to a neighbor’s property. Ensure you have sufficient liability coverage to handle such scenarios.
  7. Inquire About Discounts: Some insurance companies offer discounts for homes with fire-resistant materials, sprinkler systems, and other fireproofing measures. Inquire with your insurer about potential discounts to reduce your premiums.

Who is Answer Financial?

Fireproofing your home requires effort and investment, but the peace of mind and increased safety for you and your loved ones make it a worthwhile endeavor. When it comes to updating your home insurance coverage, the experts at Answer Financial already have a track record of insuring nearly 5 million homes and vehicles. Plus, you can save money as you safeguard the value of your home. We work with 40+ top-rated carriers to save our customers an average of $565 a year on insurance.*

On our mobile-friendly website, shoppers can quickly compare rates and customize coverages from multiple home insurers. By simply entering your zip code and home address, Answer Financial can search publicly available records like square footage and year built to deliver side-by-side comparison quotes from reputable insurance companies. Now that’s the ultimate fireproofing plan for your home and everything in it!


  1., “Home Fires,”
  2. National Fire Protection Association, “Fire loss in the United States,”
  3. Skywalker Roofing, “Fireproof Your Roof! How to Choose the Right Fire-Resistant Roofing Material,”
  4. How Stuff Works, “Top 6 Fire-resistant Building Materials,”
  5. National Fire Prevention Association, “Smoke Alarms in US Home Fires,”
  6. National Fire Prevention Association, “US Experience with Sprinklers,”
  7. National Fire Prevention Association, “Firewise USA,” FEMA, “Wildfire Insurance,” NAIC, “What You Should Know About Homeowners Claims and Additional Living Expenses,”

*Results of a national survey of new Answer Financial customers reporting insurance savings in 2023.