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How the Santa Rosa Fire Taught Us About Insurance

Santa Rosa, California may be a number of remarkable things. The great wildfire that consumed human life and property in October, 2017 will go down in history as a tragedy of unprecedented damages. With forty-three dead victims and more than one billion in property devastation, totaling over the $1 billion in losses, the fire left insureds grappling with the painful after effects.

Then there are the regrets when underlining the insurance concepts. Too many homeowners and commercial property owners did not prepare for the worst by purchasing adequate coverage.

What points can we take from the event? Insurance professionals share the following pressing notes.

Eight Insurance Concepts of the California’s Catastrophic Wildfire

• Many policyholders had insufficient coverage for the colossal damages. While it is human nature to envision bad things only happen to others, those suffering from huge losses on account of the fire, would have made comprehensive recovery possible with better insurance protection.

• Those who dealt with independent insurance agencies and companies that excelled in claims support fared better than others who got erroneous info in regard to their policy’s coverage.

• Utilizing the public Federal Emergency Management Agency’s debris removal was the favored choice over other private company services. This is because property owners could switch after the public service selection if they wanted to.

• Those who had Loss of Use or Living Expenses coverage benefited greatly in the aftermath of the wildfire.

• Homeowners that purchased extended replacement cost coverage are empowered to totally reconstruct with insurance funds.

• Contrary to the belief of some, there is landscaping coverage in a standard Homeowners Insurance policy. This gives leeway to those who must replenish trees and brush lost in the fire.

• In light of the tragic fire, contents insurance was amended. This gave cause to many carriers to consent to cover at least 50% of house contents without the policyholder having to go through the painstaking process of categorizing inventory. Some insurance companies even consented to coverage for the entire contents without the classifications. Yet other companies waived the inventory process according to individual claim.

• Those that listed a secondary dwelling on their Homeowners Insurance policy got coverage for unattached structures. This included separate garages, gazebos and so on. In addition, policyholders learned that reviewing a policy is of the essence because a secondary structure may not be included at all and if it is covered, it may have a minimal limit.

It should go without saying that the most qualified to review your policy is an insurance professional – someone who definitely takes the lessons learned from a tragic occurrence much to heart.

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