Wildfires are one of the most common and devastating natural disasters that people in the US face year after year. They have serious consequences for livelihoods and land, reduce the air quality, and leave behind lasting damage.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there have been about 42,498 fires on average between 2013 and 2022. On average, these fires have spread over an area of approximately 5,534,893 acres. The Center has also reported that, as of late, 72 wildfires have been responsible for burning 468,876 acres across 14 states.
The recent Maui wildfire is an example of how climate change and neglect can both contribute to widespread devastation. According to a report, over 100 people have died so far, with a few dozen still missing. The same report states that it would take approximately $5.5 billion to recreate and rebuild West Maui. The fire is now 90% contained, but the restoration will take months, and getting back to the usual self for many families might even take years.
Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, California, and other states are among the most severely impacted by wildfires in the United States. Every year, around the month of August, when the weather is too dry and hot, wildfires occur.
So, it is important to review the insurance coverage that individuals have when the wildfire season ensues and assess what can be done to add an extra layer of protection if there is a gap.
Wildfire Protection Guide: What Needs To Be Protected
Let us look at what needs to be or can be protected in these situations when it comes to assets and valuables.
When it comes to wildfires, your property can become your greatest liability. Natural disasters can have a negative impact on the structure and the land. In the event of a wildfire, you can get the right amount of valuation to rebuild, repair, and temporarily relocate to a safer location with the right protection.
You may have kept all your valuables on your property, but simply protecting your product will not compensate you for any lost value on any valuable item. For example, if your golf equipment or artwork is destroyed by a wildfire, the loss is entirely yours, and the natural disaster can severely impact your finances.
Cars or vehicles, whether for personal or commercial use, can become a liability if not properly insured from such disasters. Some states mandate individuals to take auto insurance, but is your policy sufficiently protective if your vehicle is damaged in a natural disaster? It is critical to ensure that to be fully safe and secure around the wildfire season.
The American economy is thriving thanks to millions of small and medium-sized businesses. Most of the time, these businesses are set up in the comfort of people’s homes or in small, rented spaces. Now, if the wildfire reaches the business premises, it can have a severe impact and can even shut down the entire operation in no time. This is the worst-case scenario for any business owner because it results in the temporary or permanent closure of the business, even when it is not their fault.
Types of Insurance Coverage Based on Your Property
The first and most important type of protection you require is homeowner’s insurance. This insurance protects your home from damage such as fire, even if it is a natural disaster like a wildfire.
Homeowner’s insurance can provide financial assistance to the affected individual in the repair or rebuilding of the structure. This insurance may not cover other areas, such as a garage, so check with your insurance provider to confirm the correct valuation and area covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Condo insurance can also cover losses or damage to your specific unit. The rest of the area, on the other hand, is covered by the Master Condo Policy, which is adopted by the association and helps to cover the damage caused by wildfires.
Even with condo insurance, the individual receives assistance in rebuilding the home, as well as a temporary allowance for stays until the repair work is completed.
Business Interruption Coverage
If you own a small business and operate it from your home, you can purchase a business interruption insurance policy specifically for wildfire-like situations.
A home-based business may include inventory, packaging, and equipment required to run a business. All of this can be damaged in the event of a wildfire, resulting in business interruption and financial loss. Getting business interruption coverage is highly recommended to get compensated for such losses.
Apart from these, it is critical to invest in a good auto insurance policy, whether for personal or commercial use. If your vehicle is destroyed in a wildfire, it will be a relief to have insurance that will cover the losses. If it were a commercial vehicle, the damage could result in business losses, which can also be covered by the right policy.
There are numerous government initiatives that provide financial assistance to wildfire victims to rebuild their lives. However, sometimes, the damage is so severe that it is difficult to return to the previous level. This gap, however, can be filled with the right insurance coverage.
Home insurance prices have risen dramatically over the years, primarily due to inflation, rising labor and material costs, and, of course, an increase in natural disasters. Gonzalez Insurance always recommends reviewing your insurance policies and getting a thorough portfolio analysis before the seasons change. This helps you understand the correct valuation of your property and how much your insurance coverage can help you in the event of a disaster. Want to learn more about how policy customization works? Contact our team today.