House fire statistics

There are roughly 50% fewer house fires today than 40 years ago, but the average cost of damage caused has nearly doubled.

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While the number of house fires has declined steadily over the past 40 years, fires today cause far more damage. In fact, the average fire loss per house in 2020 was $23,562, compared to $12,214 in 1980. [1] Fortunately, your homeowners insurance can pay to rebuild your house or replace your belongings after an expensive fire.

House fires by the numbers

  • 356,500 house fires occurred in 2020 [2]

  • $8.4 billion in property damage was caused from those fires [3]

  • 49% of house fires are caused by cooking accidents [4]

  • 3% of house fires are caused by wildfires, but they cause 11% of all house fire losses [5]

  • $78,838 is the average home insurance house fire claim [6]

  • 20% of fires occur between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. [7]

  • 28,400 was the average number of house fires started intentionally from 2015 to 2019 [8]

  • 2,580 civilian deaths occurred from house fires in 2020 [9]

  • 3.5 minutes is all it takes for a house fire to reachover 1,100℉ [10]

  • 48% of Thanksgiving Day house fires occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. [11]

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What causes house fires?

Here are the top five leading causes of residential fires from 2015 to 2019, according to the NFPA. [12]

CauseAverage number of house firesAverage direct property losses
Cooking169,400$1.2 billion
Heating equipment45,800$1 billion
Electrical fires32,000$1.3 billion
Intentional28,400$554 million
Smoking materials16,300$511 million

While cooking was the leading cause, electrical fires brought the most damage. Smoking materials were the fifth leading cause of house fires, but they caused more deaths than any of the others.

Does homeowners insurance cover house fires?

Yes, homeowners insurance covers just about every cause of house fires, including wildfires and kitchen fires. If your house is damaged or destroyed by a fire, homeowners insurance can pay to rebuild your home and replace any damaged belongings. Your policy can also pay for temporary lodging, restaurant meals, and other living expenses while your home is being rebuilt or repaired.

→ Learn more: Homeowners insurance and fire coverage

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