*Wildfire insurance - Protecting oneself against wildfires*

 Protecting oneself against wildfires

If you live in a region prone to wildfires, make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect your house from these devastating catastrophes.

 

However, because it is not always feasible to escape the damage of a wildfire, it is necessary to protect yourself financially by getting proper insurance.

 

The structure of your home - A typical homeowners policy covers the destruction and damage caused by fire, including wildfiresIn the event of a fire, your insurance provider will pay for the rebuilding or restoration of your home as well as the remediation of smoke damageThis includes any outbuildings on your land, such as a garage or tool shed. Condo or co-op policyholders should consult their bylaws or underlying lease to identify their personal insurance obligations vs those of the association.


Your possessions - A homeowners or renters policy also protects your things from loss or damage. It also covers theft and vandalism (for example, looting after a wildfire). Homeowners can also cover their trees and shrubs.


A place to live - If a wildfire makes your house unusable, your homeowners or renters insurance will reimburse you for any additional living expenses (ALE), such as a hotel room or meals out.


Your vehicle - The optional comprehensive section of auto insurance coverage protects your vehicle against fire and vandalism.


Your business - A typical business owner's policy will cover property fire damage to the building, office space, equipment, and inventory.  Business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance (BI), covers the profits a company would have received as well as any additional operating expenses paid as a result of the disaster.


The amount of your insurance payout is governed by the terms and limits of your policy. It's a good idea to have an up-to-date house inventory and copies of critical documents offsite.


As usual, ensure that you have enough homeowners insurance and other coverages (such as life insurance) to financially protect yourself and your family in the case of a wildfire or other calamity.

 

If you have to file a wildfire claim


If a wildfire has caused damage to your property, follow these steps:

Contact your insurance professional as soon as possible - An insurance adjuster may visit your home to inspect the damage, and you will most likely be required to present your insurer with a completed "proof of loss" form, which includes a description of each damaged item, the approximate date of purchase, and the cost of replacing or repairing it. This is when a thorough house inventory comes in handy.


Don't throw anything away. If possible and safe, save damaged goods until an insurance company representative can examine the damage and file a claim.


Understand what is required of you: Your insurer may require repair estimates—or not. Inquire with your insurance agent about the conditions for filing claims.


Know the claim time restrictions - Insurance policies typically have a time limit for filing claims, which varies by state and firm. Check with your insurance to find out what the time constraints are so you don't miss out on the opportunity to file your claim.

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