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Wildfires and how property owners are protected by insurance law

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | Insurance Law |

Washington State residents who take the necessary steps to make sure they are covered by insurance in case of an unexpected event might be under the impression that their policy will protect them in the event of a fire. However, with the ongoing challenges from wildfires across the Western part of the United States, it is important to know what is really covered and how to ensure that they are compensated if they suffer damage and loss. As always, whether the fire was due to the wildfires or a fire from a different origin, it is imperative to understand how to address issues with the insurer if there is a denial of a claim or a refusal to pay for items that the owner expected to be paid for.

Understanding insurance coverage is key

Fortunately, most insurance policies will cover damage from a fire – including the wildfires. Still, there are steps to take. People are advised to have a full property inventory. Often, people are unaware that there are aspects of the policy that determine what is and what is not covered. For example, the main structure of the property and its attachments as well as what is inside the property are covered. Also covered is landscaping such as trees and gardens, but there is a cap which cannot be exceeded.

People may be temporarily or permanently forced from their home because it is no longer habitable after a fire. The living expenses can be paid to homeowners and renters if this happens. Businesses have the option of getting insurance for an interruption to operations because of a fire. There are optional parts of a plan that may cover vehicle damage from a fire. If there are items in the vehicle, the homeowners’ policy generally covers it.

Retaining evidence and dealing with disputes with insurers

The fine print of an insurance policy can have information that details what is and what is not covered. People may be surprised by what they cannot receive payment for after a tragedy like a fire. In some situations, it might be necessary to have legal assistance to make sure the insurer does not try to avoid paying what the contract says it is supposed to. It could offer an insufficient amount, deny the claim or delay the claim. People pay for insurance to be repaid when they suffer loss. Having legal help to hold companies accountable under insurance law may be critical to getting all the policyholder is entitled to.