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Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week - A time to review your homeowner’s insurance

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week - A time to review your homeowner’s insurance

April 26, 2012
CARSON CITY – Nevada’s insurance carriers have reported to the Nevada Division of Insurance (Division) that they have received around 1,100 claims as a result of the Caughlin Ranch and Washoe Drive fires. The dollar amount of these claims, mostly due to fire, wind or smoke damage is approaching $35 million.

These insurance claim estimates show the dangers of wildfire. Nevadans should take action during Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week (NWAW) to prepare their homes and evaluate their insurance to prepare for wildfire season.

NWAW is a time to recognize the wildfire threat and to promote action. The theme for this year is “Wildfire Survival — It Takes A Community, You Can Make a Difference!”

It will be celebrated April 28 through May 5, with events taking place throughout Nevada. The week will kick off April 28 at Mills Park in Carson City.

The Division will be at the kick off event answering questions about insurance. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers a chance to talk with local firefighters, learn how to use a fire extinguisher and much more.

The Division recommends that Nevadans conduct a home inventory and then call their insurance agent or company and ask for an “annual policy review.” This review will ensure appropriate and adequate coverage is in place to protect their homes and belongings.

The first step is to make a home inventory. Document all of your belongings, and be sure to include home improvement items, electronics and other specialty items like jewelry. It is helpful to take photos or make a video of all your belongings and set up a file to store receipts for purchased items.

The Division has resources available on its website to help homeowners and renters. A home inventory checklist can be downloaded, as well as the free myHOME Scr.APP.book app for iPhone and Android. The app guides the user through making an inventory, and storing it electronically for safekeeping.

Before calling your insurance agent or company read your insurance policy and declarations page which shows your coverage levels.

When you call, ask for an “annual policy review.” During the review disclose the contents of your home inventory, and ask if the current insurance coverage is adequate.

Other questions to ask during your policy review:
- Have any changes have been made to the coverage levels since the last renewal; if so, by whom and why?

- Is the coverage for replacement cost or actual cash value? Replacement cost is the amount it would take to repair or replace your home or possessions. Actual cash value is the amount it would take to repair or replace damage to your home or possessions after deducting for depreciation.

- Some valuables require special coverage. Tell your agent about any big ticket items such as electronics, jewelry, fine art or off highway vehicles and ask if you need special coverage.

Be aware that your home insurance does not protect your car from damage, even if it is parked in your garage when it sustains damage. Damage to your car will only be covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.

If you are a renter, and you do have renters insurance, you should also conduct a home inventory and policy review.

However, if you don’t have renters insurance you should consider purchasing it. Your landlord's insurance will generally protect the structure but not your belongings. Renters insurance is inexpensive and typically protects your possessions from all the perils that traditional home insurance would.

Insurance can be confusing. To help consumers better understand their coverage, the Nevada Division of Insurance has written three guides regarding home insurance to assist consumers: the Nevada Consumer’s Guide to Home Insurance, Nevada Consumer’s Guide to Flood Insurance and the Nevada Consumer’s Guide to Earthquake Insurance. These guides can be found online at doi.nv.gov/consumer.aspx.