A wildfire can be
a devastating and life
altering event, but for an
insurer, it is routine business.

Wildfire Insurance Claims

Wildfires are statistically the most widespread of all natural disasters. Furthermore, wildfires are an ever-growing threat, particularly to the mid-west region. It is important that homeowners are aware of the necessary steps when preventing a wild fire, as well as to be aware of the insurance impact when moving or building in these high risk areas.

Businesses should always beware of the economic consequences of wildfires by insuring for income and extra expense and in many instances, contingent business income loss should be purchased. The contingent business income coverage is many times the most overlooked coverage.

The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history was the Black Forest Fire of June 2013. Insurance losses totaled to an estimated $420.5 million as a result of approximately 4,175 homeowner and auto insurance claims filed. El Paso County reported a total of 488 structures damaged or destroyed in the fire.

It has been surmised that 90% of wildfires are initiated by humans. Additionally, wildfires can be due to an excess of dead organic matter (leaves, foliage and more) and intense heat. Wildfires are also possible in the instance of lightning in extremely dry and/or drought conditions. Lightning reportedly strikes the earth 100,000 times annually, with 10-20% of these strikes harboring the strength to trigger a wildfire. Conclusively, approximately 1.2 million acres are burned every year by wildfire in the United States.

Wildfires are a serious threat; it is important that you are prepared in all aspects.

Wildfire safety tips:

  • Create approximately a 30-foot zone around your property free of as much flammable material as possible. If achievable, replace any flammable vegetation with fire resistant plants.
  • Reducing the number of trees in heavily wooded areas cuts back on potential hazard. When it comes to very large trees, prune lower branches a few feet from the ground.
  • Remove any branches that overhanging or are within close proximity to the roof or the chimney. Keep dead leaves and foliage clean from the roof, gutters, and yard.
  • If possible, have a roof that meets a “Class B” fire classification or better, installed on your property. If you have a chimney or stovepipe, keep them covered with nonflammable screening.
  • Install dual- or triple-paned windows in your property.
  • Keep any woodpiles and/or liquid propane gas tanks at a minimum of 30 feet from all physical structures and clear away any flammable vegetation from said woodpiles and/or propane tanks.

The cost of insurance for wildfire coverage can be conditional on several factors, particularly pertaining to the state of property surrounding your property. Another factor an insurance provider might consider when assessing cost of wildfire insurance coverage, would be the proximity of your property to a fire department.

Merlin Law group fights on behalf of the insurance policyholder. If your insurance claim has been denied, delayed or underpaid, please call us today for a free consultation.

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