Press Releases

Average Cooking Fire Claim Tops $30,000

Fire Prevention Week is Oct 7-13 – Are you prepared?

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cooking fires far exceed most home-related fires, and they are more expensive to repair. Fires that start on the stove outpace appliance, fireplace, smoking, candle or furnace fires. According to claims data compiled by Nationwide Insurance, the average cooking fire claim damage is more than $30,000, which is four times higher than the next most expensive type of homeowners claim.

“Seventeen percent of all Nationwide Insurance residential fire insurance claims were caused by cooking last year,” said Mark Pizzi, president & COO of Nationwide Insurance. “We’ve learned a lot from our response to fires over the past few years. Having a plan and taking some small steps now can go a long way toward preventing the unthinkable.”

Nationwide is urging homeowners to observe Fire Prevention Week October 7-13, 2012. Homeowners should check out our fire prevention infographic for tips on what they can do now to protect their homes and loved ones in the event of a fire.

“Use Fire Prevention Week as motivation to make an emergency escape plan, check your smoke alarms, and identify your risks,” added Pizzi. “You can never be too prepared for the unexpected.”

Last year, Nationwide found that March -- followed by April, December, October and May -- were the months with the most kitchen fires claims -- not just during the holiday months as most people might guess.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one in 22 households will have a cooking fire each year. Cooking is involved in an estimated 156,400 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires caused:

  • 420 deaths
  • 5,310 injuries
  • $993 million in direct property damage
  • 16% of home fire deaths, 40% of home fire injuries and 15% of the direct property damage in 2010.

These home fire safety and homeowners insurance coverage suggestions can help you make decisions that may reduce your risks. We don’t know every risk and can’t guarantee these will work for you, but some of them may help protect your most valuable assets – you, your family and your home.

Prevention Tips

  • Always keep what you are cooking in sight. Never leave the stove unattended.
  • Stay alert.
  • Keep things that can catch fire away from heat.
  • Never use water on a grease fire!
  • Know what to do if you have a cooking fire. Practice your fire escape plan. Know two ways out.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • Install and use cooking appliances safely.
  • Have working smoke alarms.

Protect your personal property

  • Inventory your valuables, including approximate value and date purchased. Pictures or videos are great. Go to for more information and download free software.
  • Store mortgage and other important papers in a safe deposit or fire safe box – and do not store the box on your basement floor.
  • Add your insurance company’s claims number to contacts on your cell phone.
  • Read and understand your homeowner and auto insurance policies, especially your deductibles. Talk to an agent to make sure you have the appropriate amount of insurance coverage to protect what matters most to you.

About Nationwide

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit

Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

Elizabeth Stelzer, 614-249-4491

Source: Nationwide