Wildfire Preparation and Insurance Tips

One of the many benefits of my involvement with the Financial Planning Association are the research and learning opportunities. The FPA’s forthcoming quarterly education meeting will include a session entitled Current Events & Insurance: California Fires, Working from Home, and Earthquakes. We reached out to the professional that will be presenting the session and asked him to share some important tips in light of the current and recent wildfires affecting California. I thought you might find this to be informative and helpful.

Wildfire Preparation and Tips

  1. Insurance
    • Additional living expenses (e.g. staying in a hotel) due to forced evacuation is typically covered for two weeks under a homeowner policy and there is no deductible. If your home is damaged due to the wildfire, then the period of coverage is much longer.
    • You will need to provide proof of your contents following a claim. In a perfect world, you would have an inventory list of your personal property. In a practical world, video record your contents. Walk through the interior of your home and record your contents, making sure all closets and drawers are open. Finally, upload the video to the cloud (e.g. email video to yourself or upload to your cloud service of choice).
    • Insurance cannot replace family photos and computer files. If you have an opportunity, backup digital versions of these items to the cloud.
    • A copy of your entire policy contract is an empowering tool. After a loss, ask for a copy of the entire policy contract (not just the declaration page), for your study. Or, capture it beforehand for quick reference.
    • A mud slide following a fire is not covered by home insurance but instead covered by flood insurance. Please be mindful that if purchasing flood insurance, there is typically a 30-day waiting period.
  2. Pre-evacuation (if time allows)
    • Clean roof and gutters.
    • Ensure all home air vents have screens.
    • Leave your exterior house lights on so it is visible by emergency vehicles through the smoke or darkness.
    • Know and communicate two ways out of your neighborhood. Designate an emergency meeting location for your family.

Additional Resource: https://www.readyforwildfire.org/

This subject matter is a bit out of my lane. Nonetheless, I hope you find this useful and that you and your loved ones are all out of harms way.