- Home Inventory: There's no time like the present to update your home inventory. Although many insurance companies do not REQUIRE a home inventory, it is very wise to document what personal property you have in your home. You can run a vide camera through each room, take pictures or fill out a home inventory record (print one here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B3jkfR37iTC3ZDZhMjA0YzYtNzA1OS00NWIwLWExZmQtOTdiZGU5NTNmZmZi ). Whichever method you choose, keep it somewhere off primses. Preferably, send it to your insurance agent and have them store it at their office.
- Mandatory Evacuations: Most insurance companies WILL cover the expenses incurred from a mandatory evacuation, such as hotel and food costs. However, you must reach your deductible first. If you have a $1000 deductible and you incur $800 worth of addidtional living expenses, you would most likely not be reimbursed by your insurance company because the amount is below your deductible (your deductible is the amount of the claim you are required to pay). Keep all of your receipts for your extra living expenses in case you need to file a claim. If you get home and find you have other damages, such as smoke damage, it would be added into the same claim and be covered under the same deductible.
- It Is Probably Too Late To Change Your Coverage: Once a neighborhood has a wildfire moving in it's direction, it is most likely too late to make any changes to your home insurance. Raising coverage, lowering deductibles and adding special items such as art or jewelry is usually prohibitted by the insurance company after a wildfire has been declared in the area. Presently in Colorado Springs, most insurance companies have issued a non-bind order for any property west of I-25, meaning there are no increases in coverage allowed and no new home insurance policies can be written until the non-bind status is removed. My advice, review your coverage with your agent BEFORE your area is affected! An insurance checkup should be done every 12-24 months to make sure your coverage is set up properly.
Good luck to all of the fire fighters out there and thank you for your hard work and efforts to keep us safe.