Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month – Take action and review your home insurance

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in Nevada and the Nevada Division of Insurance (NDOI) encourages everyone to take this time to do a “checkup” on their homeowner policy.

The theme is a call to action: Improve your Odds-Prepare for Wildfire. This year is especially important to bring awareness to this issue, as Nevada is currently facing its fourth year in drought, increasing the odds for wildfires in the region. While reducing the fuel will reduce the risk of fire to your home, it is also important to protect your home with adequate insurance.

“It is important to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure your home is protected in case of an event like wildfires damaging your homes,” said Commissioner Scott J. Kipper.

 The Nevada Division of Insurance recommends that you conduct a checkup that includes completing a home inventory and reviewing the provisions of your homeowner’s policy. This inventory and review will ensure appropriate and adequate coverage is in place to protect your home 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, such as “Insure U” by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This includes a home inventory checklist for download, as well as a 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 insurance 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 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- your home insurance does not pay for any damage to your car 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.

Wild fire awareness month is a time to recognize the wildfire threat and to promote action with events taking place throughout Nevada. The week will kick off May 1 at Eureka Fire House in Eureka, Nevada. For a full list of scheduled events throughout Nevada visit http://www.livingwithfire.info/wildfire-awareness-month.

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.

About the Nevada Division of Insurance

The State of Nevada Division of Insurance is a division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry. It is the state agency that protects the rights of Nevada consumers and regulates Nevada’s $11.9 billion insurance industry. It has offices in Carson City and Las Vegas. In 2014, the Division investigated more than 2,800 consumer complaints and recovered nearly $4 million on behalf of consumers. For more information about the Division of Insurance, visit DOI.NV.GOV or Download the Division’s smartphone app NDOI Connect today in the Apple App Store and Google Play.