Wildfires: Be Prepared and Be Protected

With the unofficial beginning of summer last weekend, many of us are making vacation plans and heading outdoors to enjoy the weather.  But for those living in the western part of the United States, this time of year marks the beginning of wildfire season.

As I write this blog, firefighters near Santa Barbara, California are fighting a wildfire that broke out Monday near the Los Padres National Forest.  Santa Barbara County Fire Captain David Sadecki was quoted in USA Today saying “It’s still spring — it’s not even summer — and it’s burning like it’s August or September.”

The Weather Channel lists the current national drought footprint at 19%, and a new federal drought outlook released last week shows the southwestern quadrant of the United States has drought conditions that will persist or intensify over the next couple months.

Escalated drought conditions mean wildfires are more likely than ever to occur, and in places not previously affected by wildfires.  If you live in an area with the potential for a wildfire, it’s important to be prepared and protected.

Be Prepared:

  • The Wildfire Page at Ready.gov offers preparation and safety tips for before, during, and after a wildfire.
  • Wildfire…Are You Prepared? from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the US Fire Administration is a comprehensive booklet full of helpful information for you to prepare for, protect yourself during, and recover from a wildfire.
  • The Wildfire page on the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety website contains a wealth of information including the Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist to help you develop an assessment of your home’s risks and learn how to better protect it from wildfires.
  • The Wildfire Ready webpage hosted by the State of Colorado, insurance partners, CBS4, and fire officials provides information on how to be “Wildfire Ready.”

Be Protected:

  • Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy with your agent to make sure your limits are adequate and your coverage is up to date.
  • If you are forced to evacuate, your insurance policy may provide coverage for your living expenses.  The basic HO-3 policy provides loss of use coverage for up to 14 days when a civil authority prohibits you from using your home.  This covers your expense to stay at a hotel and the extra cost of eating out for your meals.
  • If your home is actually burned in the wildfire and is not fit to live in, most standard homeowner’s policies provide coverage for any necessary increase in living expenses incurred by you so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.
  • Should your home and belongings be lost to fire, having a household inventory can speed up your claim settlement.  It’s easy to do – check out Central’s how-to video.

For additional resources, check out the Tips and Tool webpage on our website at www.central-insurance.com.

Has your home ever been in the path of a wildfire? Share your experience with us.

One Comment on “Wildfires: Be Prepared and Be Protected

  1. Pingback: Wildfire risks insurance coverage

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