As a California resident, we are sure you or someone you know has been personally impacted by the recent wildfires. We are right there with you, and we’re sorry for any hardships you have faced as a result. In the wake of such tragedy, it’s important to consider your options and plan ahead for the future, especially living in a drought and fire-prone area.
A Santa Maria Valley- based State Farm agent, Donna Randolph recently spoke about the wildfire devastation as it pertains to insurance claims, “It causes people to come in and call to go over the coverages to make sure they have the proper coverage in place,” she said.
Randolph said she is now answering more calls from clients wanting to review their insurance policies in order to be better informed about the specifics of what their coverage provides. “When it comes to fire, homeowners’ insurance will typically cover coverage for the structure itself, your contents, your additional living expenses for your food and lodging,” said Randolph.
One of her recommendations to policy holders is that they document their personal belongings, especially since it’s as easy to do as logging it in a cell phone. By taking videos with your phone and saving them on a cloud or hard drive kept in a secondary location, you will be able to easily provide proof of the contents of your home.
As a side note, it may be advisable that you scan and save family photos and important documents to a cloud as well, particularly if you live in an area that is at high-risk for fires. An insurance policy can cover the replacement of many personal items, but cherished memories are not among them.
In addition, Randolph suggests that your family come up with a plan in case a fire breaks out on your property or in your home, or an evacuation order is issued in your area. “Fire drills” are commonplace in businesses and schools throughout California, but not necessarily in homes. It is important to put your plan into action, by practicing with your family regularly, so they are well prepared in case of emergency.
It would also be helpful to write a list of the most important personal items you wish to take with you should you be forced to leave at a moment’s notice. “Having something, maybe a bin that you put everything,” says Randolph. “If something happens, I want to grab these. These are the heirlooms, these are the priceless mementos that I want to get out of here if something were to happen and you were to grab-and-go.”
Lastly, simply having a personal relationship with your insurance agent could make the difficult, and sometimes complicated process immediately following a fire much easier to handle.
We sincerely hope you have not been personally affected by the recent fires. If you’ve suffered damage or loss, please call your agent today to get the claim process started immediately. Call or stop by our office for professional help comparing different insurance companies and the policies they offer, to ensure you’re properly covered in the event of a natural disaster.