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In a recent news release (July 23, 2015), the California Insurance Commissioner reminded wild fire evacuees that they should check their home owners' policies to determine whether they were entitled to insurance benefits to help them with additional expenses associated with evacuation and recovery, including temporary housing and food costs.

The release noted that approximately 500 persons had been evacuated due to the Wragg fire in the Lake Berryessa area that affected 7000 acres in Solano, Napa and Yolo counties. The Commissioner's news release went on to say: "Many homeowner insurance policies cover additional living expenses during natural disasters. This permits homeowners to maintain their standard of living by covering increased living expenses incurred as a result of damage caused by the fire or mandatory evacuation. The coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses. Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company. Consumers should check with their insurer regarding any limitations that may apply to the coverage." Evacuees should save relevant receipts and invoices.

If you were not one of the unfortunate Wragg fire evacuees, congratulations. But if you are a homeowner or renter who lives in a potential wildfire area, you might treat this as a wake up call to take a look both at your your insurance coverage and your state of fire preparation. Does your coverage need to be modified to reflect property remodeling or upgrades? Did you let your insurance coverage lapse after your mortgage was paid off? Have you compiled an inventory of personal possessions? Do you have a family evacuation plan? Have you taken steps to mitigate potential fire damage (clearing brush, trimming shrubbery and trees, removing dead leaves from open space and roofs)?

Pfeifer Insurance Brokers specializes in wild fire coverage. In particular, we are experts in the California FAIR Plan which can provide insurance coverage for homeowners who have difficulty obtaining policies in normal commercial markets due in part to the risk of wild fires where they are located. Please see our special web site at www.californiawildfireinsurance.com for details on the FAIR Plan. Also see our earlier blogs on related topics: "The California FAIR Program: A Possible Solution to Wild Fire Risk" (May 28, 2014), and "California FAIR Plan: Insurance for Homes in Brush Fire Areas" (February 22, 2014).

Alex Pfeifer
Pfeifer Insurance Brokers
650 762-8087
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