Report: Vehicle Fires Caused $1.4 Billion in Property Damage in 2010

Public fire departments responded to about 1.3 million fires nationwide in 2010, a decrease of about 1 percent from the previous year, according to a new report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The total included 482,000 fires in homes and other structures and 215,000 blazes affecting vehicles, the association found. All told, those fires killed 3,120 civilians and caused an estimated $11.6 billion in property losses, according to the report, which was compiled using estimates based on a survey of 3,000 fire departments across the country.

Minivan on fireFires involving all types of vehicles accounted for 16 percent of all conflagrations and about 10 percent of civilian fire deaths. Vehicle fires were down significantly from the more than 500,000 reported annually in the late 1970s, when NFPA began collecting data.

There was a 1.6 percent drop from 2009 in blazes affecting all types of vehicles. Of those fires, 184,500 involved highway vehicles, which saw a 3.2 percent decrease from 2009 and an estimated $987 million in losses for 2010, a 6.4 percent reduction from the year before.

The remaining 31,000 fires involved other vehicles, including trains, boats, ships and aircraft. They saw an 8.8 percent increase in fires that caused $389 million in estimated losses, a 26.7 percent jump from the previous year.

The more than $11 billion in property damages reported for 2010 included losses involving structures, vehicles, machinery, vegetation “and anything else involved in a fire,” according to the report, but not indirect losses such as lost business or the costs of shelter for displaced residents.

The NFPA report underscores the importance of consumers carrying enough insurance to cover damages to their homes, automobiles and other property.

While most homeowner policies cover policyholders in the event of a fire, only comprehensive coverage provides the same level of protection for automobiles—a fact worth considering for those who are conducting an auto insurance quotes comparison and want to get covered for such exposures.

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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