Did you know that insurance discounts are available in California for homeowners who live in recognized "Firewise" communities? Contact FIRESafe MARIN for help organizing your neighborhood!
Many insurance companies routinely cancel policies for homeowners who live in Marin's most fire-prone neighborhoods. Without insurance, you could lose your mortgage and your home. FIRESafe MARIN can help you work with your local fire department and insurer to get your policy renewed. Contact us for assistance.
ARE YOU FINANCIALLY PREPARED FOR A WILDFIRE?
In the North Bay fires of 2017, nearly 9000 homes were destroyed. 74% didn’t have enough insurance coverage.
INSURANCE CAN PROTECT WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU
A home is generally your largest asset. Protect it. Insurance is the critical back-up plan enabling you to rebuild your home after a wildfire. Federal catastrophe grants are not enough to rebuild a home. Make sure your family’s financial safety net is in place, in case disaster strikes. Follow these tips as part of your Ready, Set, GO! wildfire preparedness plan:
Tips 1: Conduct an Annual Insurance Check Up
Call your agent or insurance company annually to discuss your policy limits and coverage. Make sure your policy reflects the correct square footage and features in your home. Get an estimate of the cost of re-building after a wildfire from a local contractor, and be skeptical of estimates less than $300/sq ft. In Marin, most rebuilding estimates should start at $400 per square foot or more depending on construction quality and home features.
- Purchase building code upgrade coverage.
- Save money with a higher deductible, not lower coverage.
- Don’t underestimate to save money.
- Don’t rely on the purchase price or appraised value of your home.
Tips 2: Know What Your Policy Covers
The details matter. Ask for a full replacement cost policy that pays to replace all your items at current market price rather than an actual cash value policy that takes depreciation into account and pays less for aged items.
Tips 3: Update Your Policy to Cover Home Improvements
If you make home improvements, be sure to call your agent or company to update your coverage. Make sure your insurer knows about the changes, so the new countertops, floors or room are covered if you must rebuild.
Tips 4: Maintain Insurance
If your home is paid off, be sure to maintain homeowner insurance. Without insurance, do you have the money to rebuild your home? Check with loved ones whose homes are paid off to be sure they continue to carry homeowner insurance.
Tips 5: Get Renters Insurance
Renters can lose everything in a fire and be left to start over. Many insurers bundle renters insurance coverage with an auto insurance policy at affordable prices.
Tips 6: Get 2 years of Living Expense Coverage
Get at least 2 years of “additional living expenses” coverage, becauset hat's how long it may take to rebuild after a fire.
MAKE A HOME INVENTORY
Recovery is easier if you have an accurate home inventory. Document the contents of your home before a fire occurs. Use your smartphone to video your belongings. Keep your inventory & photos outside home or in the cloud.
Tip 1: Video or photograph each room of your home.
Remember to document drawers and closets.
Tip 2: Describe your home’s contents in your video.
Mention the price you paid, where and when you bought the item.
Tip 3: Remember to note important or expensive items.
Video your electronics, appliances, sports equipment, TVs, computers, tablets. “Schedule” valuable items with your insurer before a fire strickes!
Tip 4: Save receipts for major purchases.
Store key documents in the cloud or fireproof case. Keep home inventory offsite or in the cloud.
Tip 5: Video the Garage
Don’t forget to video or photograph what is inside your garage.