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Do you know what your fire policy covers?

October 7, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
This week's wildfires are a wakeup call for all homeowners. Exactly what will your fire insurance policy do for you, if a destructive fire strikes? Insurance agents at the fire evacuation centers are there to help you with your homeowner's insurance policy, but really you want to know all about your policy before disaster strikes.

"If you haven't been affected this is a wake up call to be prepared. Understand your policy, read it we know it is not the most interesting reading, but the more you know about it the better it is," said Pete Moraga, Insurance Information Network.

One thing you want to know about your policy, if you've lost your home or even if you've been evacuated, is most homeowner's policies will provide you and your family with additional living expenses or ALE.

"You can get an immediate check from your company or your agent right now if you have had to evacuate. This will cover any kind of money you need for hotels and foods," said Moraga. "Some people we saw just had to evacuate with what they had on their backs. So if you need food, medications or anything you need to live outside your house that is covered by the policy as well."

Something that is often missed by homeowners is coverage for smoke damage even if your home is still standing.

"Because of the winds a lot of homes may not have the actual physical fire damage, but there will be some smoke damage. Most homeowners policies will cover that smoke damage as well," said Moraga.

Remember, when you do have to file a claim it will be a lot easier if you've done a home inventory.

"The biggest challenge we have after any disaster is people do not remember everything that they have. Keep in mind that everything in your home gets replaced," said Moraga.

And to make sure everything gets replaced at no cost to you no matter how old the item is and includes rising construction costs, check to see if you have full replacement coverage, not actual cost value. Full replacement costs a little more, but it can well worth it.

 

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