Since Thursday, a wildfire in Camarillo (situated in Ventura County on the outskirts of Los Angeles) has burned at least 10,000 acres and is just 10% contained according to fire officials. The so-called Springs Fire has prompted numerous evacuations and is threatening 4,000 homes and 300 commercial properties.
To ensure Californians are ready for what is anticipated to be a busy wildfire season, the Governor has proclaimed the first full week of May as “Wildfire Awareness Week.” A website, www.ReadyForWildfire.org, has been created to provide information on how homeowners, especially in areas prone to wildfires, can prepare themselves, their families and their homes when a wildfire strikes.
Homeowners should understand that their homeowner insurance policy provides coverage for physical damage to the property as a result of a wildfire and additional living expenses if they have to evacuate. Although the scope and breadth of coverage varies among the insurance companies, most cover damage to the structure caused by fire whether it be burning or charring. When it comes to wildfire smoke, soot and ash that is either deposited onto the property or infiltrates inside, some insurance companies give policyholders a difficult time. They seem to ignore the fundamental principle that the property should be restored to its pre-loss condition and find ways to deny payment. The wildfire “residue” that was not inside the home in the first place ought to be removed properly and safely. Indeed, a policyholder should consider consulting with an insurance professional if he or she has questions about their rights under the policy and the insurance benefits they are entitled to.