What to do When Wildfire Affects Your Home

Increasingly dry conditions have led to heightened risks of wildfire. That is disturbing news for the millions of people with homes bordering forested areas. When a fire breaks out deep in forested land, it can often be left to run its course. But when people, homes, and fuel are thrown into the mix, the potential for disaster is compounded.

Whether through human activity or an act of nature, dry brush and shrubbery can easily ignite. That means if you live near wildfire-prone areas your home could be in jeopardy in mere moments. Certain precautions, such as removing flammable materials from in and around your home, can help to limit the damage caused by wildfire. But what do you do if your home gets damaged by the wildfire?

Inform Your Home Insurer

Having the right insurance policy is important for homeowners. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, however, insurance is crucial. It is not always easy to acquire coverage in such high-risk areas, but the effort is worthwhile. If wildfire damages your home, one of the first port of calls for you will be your insurer.

It is important to inform your insurance company of the disaster as soon as feasibly possible. That helps to put them on standby and will usually lead to faster claims settlement. The insurance company can prepare the necessary paperwork and book appointments for the adjuster to attend the property as soon as possible.  

Take Pictures of the Damage

If safe to do so, you should take pictures of property damage. Pictures are a good way to provide evidence of the damage being claimed. There is little room for dispute when your claim is backed up by detailed, high-quality images.

Better yet, use a combination of pictures and video. With insurance claims, the more information you can provide, the quicker the claim is likely to be settled.

Prepare a Detailed Inventory

Visual media gives the insurer a big-picture view of the wildfire damage. You can quickly provide details of structural damage with video and image. But, for personal items lost or damaged in the fire, you will still need to rely on a good old-fashioned inventory list.

After your initial call to the insurance company, you will likely have a form delivered to you by post or in person. On the form, there will be a section for you to list the items to be claimed. Here again, you can speed up the process by preparing a detailed inventory beforehand. It means you will have all the information on hand, and you will be able to submit the claims form quicker.

Ask for an Advance on Your Claim

Wildfire damage is very likely to cause severe financial hardship. You will probably have to live in temporary accommodation, miss days from work, and have surprise expenditures to contend. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to get an advance payment on your claim settlement to help ease the financial burden. If you anticipate financial hardship as a result of wildfire affecting your home ask your claims handler about getting an advanced payment.
If you are unsure whether to make a claim, contact your insurance agent to discuss your options.