Right now, more than 367 fires are burning in California. Many are 0% contained due to rugged terrain and high winds, and hundreds of structures have already been lost. Thousands more are threatened. Cal Fire is stretched thin and has called in resources from out of state. Many of the current fires resulted from thousands of lightning strikes from a coastal pressure storm. The lightning struck areas with extremely dry conditions. An historical heat wave is worsening the problem.
If you are affected by the fire or at risk, here are some key tips:
- Follow all evacuation orders, advice of Cal Fire, and pay attention to air quality.
- If you are not evacuated, consider taking precautions to prevent a loss, like clearing brush or other flammable materials from around your home. Although it can be dangerous and cause water damage, some people also choose to water down their structures.
- If you can do so safely, take photographs and videos of the fire as seen from your house.
- If you have any fire damage, do not try to fix anything yourself as this can cause further damage and be harmful to your health.
- If you have smoke particles on your property, refrain from cleaning it yourself. Your insurance policy covers removing smoke particles on your property. Trying to do so yourself can cause further damage and be harmful to your health.
- Set up webcams so you can monitor the situation from afar if you need to evacuate.
- Call your insurance agent or carrier and:
- If you are not evacuated yet, report a potential claim.
- If you are evacuated already, request an advance for Additional Living Expenses.
- If you know you’ve lost your home or experienced damage, open your claim.
- Request a certified copy of your policy.
- If you have any concerns about your coverage being insufficient to cover your losses, contact a professional such as a lawyer. Your insurance agent or broker may be at fault and is not a source of objective advice.
- If you are concerned about your insurance claim, also contact a professional, even if your concerns are minor. Insurance companies can be very friendly in the earlier stages of a claim and turn on you later.
- Always check the license status of any contractor, public adjuster, or other professional who approaches you about your situation.
- If at all possible, obtain referrals to professionals from people you trust.
- Review the resources available from United Policyholders and the California Department of Insurance.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.