As the cost of living in some of California’s major cities continues to rise, some residents are leaving the city for a more rural lifestyle. However, although houses might be cheaper in less-populated areas, homeowner’s insurance is not.
These rural communities make up the state’s riskiest regions for wildfires. This is due to their close proximity to forests and areas with lots of vegetation.
Prices for homeowner’s insurance in these areas are skyrocketing; with some insurance companies declining to renew some policies altogether. In 2017 and 2018, insurance companies have paid over $24 billion in losses to those affected by California’s wildfires.
For those still fortunate to have a homeowner’s insurance policy in these areas, there are several insurance claim tips for fire damage to consider in case of a house fire.
California’s Wildfire Situation
In 2019, nearly 270,000 acres in California were lost due to wildfires. Three people died and an estimated 735 structures were burned. Before that in 2018, 1.8 million acres were lost.
Even though California lost fewer acres in 2019 compared to 2018, the risk of wildfires is still expected to get worse over the next several years. According to researchers, the movement of people out into rural areas is partially to blame in addition to climate change.
Impact on Home Sales and Insurance Costs
People leaving the cities are often excited to see how low housing prices are in rural areas. However, they are shocked when they see the price tag of a homeowner’s insurance policy. These policies can cost thousands of dollars extra per year, leaving many unable to afford housing outside the city.
Realtors in these areas also feel the pain. Many in California have suffered from deals falling through due to this rise in homeowner’s insurance premiums.
With more insurance companies pulling out and realtors unable to sell, California’s housing crisis only continues to get more complicated.
Insurance Claim Tips for Fire Damage
For those who live in a fire-prone area – like California – it is always good to be prepared for the potential need to file an insurance claim after a fire. Here are a few insurance claim tips for fire damage.
The first tip is to be proactive by creating a comprehensive list of everything you own. This list should be made before your house is at risk of a wildfire. In the event of an actual fire, this will make the claims filing process much easier.
On that list, make sure to document each item’s name and its monetary value. It is also a good idea to make sure to store that list on a cloud-based platform like Google Drive or Dropbox. That way, in case of fire, the list is always accessible from any device with an internet connection.
In the event of a fire-related incident, it is also always best to file your claim as soon as possible. The claims process can be a long, grueling process; so the sooner you start, the faster you will be reimbursed.