"Most people have homeowners insurance under a standard policy to repair and replace their structure, but do you have enough?" Walker said. "Check your limits, know what your deducitbles are."
Walker says residents should have an evacuation plan that includes having your important personal documents easily accessible, and have a detailed inventory of the contents of your home.
"If you have a detailed inventory ahead of time, on videotape, detailed lists, those are really going to help you when the unthinkable does happen," Walker says.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association has more information on creating an evacuation plan and has free downloadable software to help you do a home inventory at http://www.rmiia.org/Catastrophes_and_Statistics/Wildfire.asp.
RMIIA has this insurance advice for homeowners affected by wildfire:
Residents evacuated from their homes should contact their insurance agents or companies immediately and let them know where they can be reached. As adjusters are allowed into the burned-out areas, they will want to go in with their policyholders to assess the damage.
Contact your agent or company if you need additional living expenses while you are out of your home.
Keep receipts. Out-of-pocket expenses during a mandatory evacuation are reimbursable under most standard homeowner policies.
Be prepared to give your agent or insurance representative a description of your damage. Your agent will report the loss immediately to your insurance company or a qualified adjuster who will contact you as soon as possible to inspect the damage. Again, be sure to give your agent a number where you can be reached.
Take photos of the damaged areas. These will help with your claims process and will assist the adjuster in the investigation.
Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Be sure to make two copies - one for yourself and one for the adjuster. Your list should be as complete as possible, including a description of the items, dates of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated replacement cost.
Make whatever temporary repairs you can. Cover broken windows, damaged roofs and walls to prevent further destruction. Save receipts for supplies and materials you purchase. Your insurance company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs.
Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs to your home from a reliable contractor and give it to the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs, repair costs and replacement prices.
Serious losses will be given priority. If your home has been destroyed or seriously damaged, your agent will do everything possible to assure that you are given priority.
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