Pacific Northwest and California Wildfires: PCI Urges Residents to Seek Safety and Contact Insurers

Homeowners and Renters Can Be Confident Homes are Protected from Covered Theft or Loss During Evacuation

OLYMPIA, Wash – August 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — With wildfires raging across ten Northwestern states and California, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is encouraging residents asked to evacuate to save receipts for expenses incurred and contact their insurance companies as soon as possible to begin receiving assistance if their home is damaged.

Contact Insurer
“Evacuating from a wildfire can be overwhelming. Once you’re in a safe place, your first step toward recovery is to contact your insurer through their toll free phone number. That will begin the recovery process and help homeowners and renters know what to,” said Kenton Brine, PCI assistant vice president. “Residents evacuated in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington should remember to save their receipts for hotels and meals, as these expenses may be eligible for reimbursement if your home is damaged.”
The National Interagency Fire Center reports 1.5 million acres are charred currently from active fires and 7.2 million acres have burned in 2015 so far with two months of high risk wildfire conditions remaining. The National Fire Preparedness Level is at 5, the highest, currently and major fires are burning in 10 states. Due to intense and widespread fire activity, the number of homes and structures destroyed or damaged cannot yet be accurately calculated. Three firefighters in Washington State lost their lives fighting the Twisp River fire on August 19.
“Property owners and renters can be confident that insurance offers protection while they are away if they are evacuated. Unfortunately looting is being reported during these periods of evacuation putting homeowners at more unease,” said Brine. “A standard homeowners policy will cover damage or loss of property if such events unfold, so homeowners should follow all evacuation orders, and not stay in an active fire zone to protect replaceable valuables.”

Insurance Company Toll-Free Claim Phone Numbers (http://bit.ly/PCITollFreeNumbers)

After the Fire Recovery Guide (http://bit.ly/AftertheFireGuide)

Wildfire Reality Check – Are You Prepared Financially?
For more tips check out: http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Financial_Preparedness

Do an annual insurance check up with your agent or insurer
Understand your policy – do you have a replacement cost policy up to limits or actual cash value
Update your policy after any home improvements
If your home is paid off, be sure to maintain coverage
Make sure your policy reflects your home’s correct square footage

Wildfire Reality Check – Is Your Property Prepared?
For more tips check out: http://www.readyforwildfire.org/

Create Defensive Space – Clear 30 to 100 feet from home in all directions
Remove dead leaves and debris from roof & rain gutters
Remove wood piles or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows
Trim trees branches a minimum of 10 feet from other threes. Embers are a major cause of spreading fires
Remove vegetation and items that can catch fire under decks.

For more information on wildfires you can follow @PCIAA on Twitter

PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $183 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 27 percent of the homeowners market, 32 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 34 percent of the private workers compensation market.

Nicole Mahrt
916-440-1116
nicole.mahrt (at) pciaa (dot) net

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