Most of us can only imagine what homeowners go through when wildfire strikes and they lose their home and everything in it. Some of them have told their stories about how their lives were changed forever. They lost their home, their belongings and many have said, they lost time. The time that it takes to rebuild, the time that it takes to re-landscape, the time it takes to work with their insurance company so that they can re-build their lives.
NFPA’s Firewise program provides principles and education so that homeowners can reduce their risk from wildfire loss. But homeowners can take steps to reduce their financial risk by making sure they are adequately insured should catastrophic loss occur.
Carol Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, (RMIIA), says that many homeowners in high wildfire risk areas are underinsured. “Homeowners need to evaluate their coverage on an annual basis with their insurance company”, she said. If homeowners are not proactive to make sure their insurance keeps up with changing replacement costs, they may find themselves under insured.
Replacement cost coverage can provide some inflation protection, but often, with older homes, building codes have changed so replacing the home may be more expensive than the original home. What about debris removal and re-landscaping after the fire? Do you have coverage for that? What endorsements do you have to cover expensive collections, jewelry or antiques? Have you done a home inventory?
The RMIIA website contains a host of resources to help homeowners reduce their risk and most states have similar organizations that can help residents with resource needs. Some examples are: Wildfire and Insurance and Insurance Basics from RMIIA.
So along with reducing you home’s risk through Firewise, having an evacuation plan and doing a home inventory, meet with your insurance agent to make sure you are adequately protected.
(photo credit: Dean Snow)