The summer season is in full swing, and so is the 2018 fire season.
It’s heart-wrenching to see so many Americans lose their homes to a wildfire.
That’s why having the best homeowners insurance for you and your home is absolutely critical.
It’s also why understanding what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers is important–especially if you live in a high-risk area for hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires.
Our research shows that most standard homeowner’s insurance policies do cover damage or loss to your home and personal belongings due to a wildfire. Fire is one of the 11 covered “perils” on most policies. (In insurance-speak, “perils” include lightning strikes, wind damage, and vandalism.)
Coverage, however, may vary based on where you live and your insurance carrier.
5 Ways To Prepare Your Home And Family For Wildfires
#1. Live Where Fire Is Less Probable.
Maybe you are moving to a new state and don’t know what the risk is for wildfires.
Or maybe you don’t know what your current state of residence ranking is.
Whatever your motivation, find out your state’s ranking is and the impact that ranking may have on your premiums.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center:
63,546 human-caused wildfires burned nearly 5 million acres in 2021 alone.
That means 90 percent of wildfires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior.
Fire risk is different for each state and based on geographical location.
For instance, western states including California and Colorado rank highest in the “Total Potential Exposure To Wildfire Damage By Risk Category” according to the III.
#2. Take Inventory, Get Organized, And Be Prepared
These may seem laborious tasks but completing them can really help you in determining what you have and where certain items are located in your home.
This includes treasured family photos, artwork, a collection of books, or important papers.
In other words, anything you have on hand that you may wish to take with you in case of a wildfire evacuation.
This will give you an up-to-date list of your possessions and determine if you have adequate personal property coverage under your current policy.
Remember, it is recommended to have 50% to 75% of your total dwelling protection premium to cover the replacement or repair of your personal belongings.
If you are underinsured, update your policy immediately and well before fire season or when a wildfire is burning in your local area.
You most likely cannot make any changes to your policy if you are on standby status to evacuate.
Buy A Safe
Having all your important documents, including wills, deeds, titles, degrees, etc., in a safer place can give you a great sense of peace of mind.
If you do not want to buy a safe, you can lease a savings deposit box from a local bank.
Centralize Important Papers
If you do this, it will speed up evacuation time.
By having your important documents in one place then you won’t waste time trying to locate them before evacuating.
Keep A Packed Travel Bag At All Times
Pack Light. Pack Smart.
At a minimum, pack a bag with some comfortable clothing to cover a period of two to three days.
Definitely include a bathroom kit with a spare toothbrush and toothpaste and any other desired toiletries.
If you can, have an emergency stash of required medications.
Put together emergency kits: one for the inside of your home and one for your car.
The kit should include a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, blankets, and candles.
Prepare Your Family
Sit down with your family members and come up with designated escape routes from your home as well as your neighborhood or local area.
Establish a safe meeting place in case your family gets separated.
Tell your neighbors, friends, and ot