State Securities and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale offers these tips for property losses due to wildfires, smoke, and evacuations. The following tips were posted on Facebook on Aug. 16:
- Insurance policies often cover losses indirectly caused by wildfires, such as damage from smoke or fire retardant. Montanans should consult with their insurance agents if they’ve been affected by fires this year, and always feel free to contact our office with any insurance problems.
- If you are forced to evacuate, living expenses are often covered if you keep track of your expenses and receipts.
- Policyholders generally understand if their property burns down or is damaged by fire that their insurance company pays for damages. However, many insurance policies provide more protection and coverage for damage and losses indirectly caused by wildfires. Insurance professionals can guide Montanans through this process.
- In addition to creating health risks, smoke can damage properties even if the fire never directly threatens the home or other property. Damage from smoke is a covered peril in insurance contracts.
- If property owners are subject to a mandatory civil evacuation order, many insurance policies provide extra living expense coverage up to two weeks. If this coverage is available, it helps defray costs during a stressful time.
- If a property owner incurs damage from fire retardant, many companies will pay for the cost to remove the retardant and restore the structure to pre-loss condition.
- It is also important to note that certain property damage is not covered, or may be limited. Damage to trees, landscapes and fencing are examples where insurance protection may only apply with capped dollar amounts.
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