Monday, August 31, 2015

Some insurance policies may cover living expenses for those displaced by wildfires

Families displaced from their homes due to wildfire evacuations may be eligible to be reimbursed for their additional living expenses if their insurance policy provides for such claims. Examples of those expenses include lodging, meals and purchasing toiletries if a consumer is displaced by the wildfire or as a result of an evacuation order.
One of several Blackhawk helicopters that is fighting wildfires in Eastern Washington. Photo courtesy of Washington state Emergency Management Division. 
Consumers in several areas in Eastern Washington have been ordered to evacuate at different points during the wildfires. We are hearing reports that some insurance companies are requiring consumers to provide a copy of the municipality’s emergency evacuation order before they will pay for additional living expenses. There is nothing in state laws or rules that prohibits an insurance company from asking for this information. If you need a copy of an evacuation order, contact the emergency management teams in your area.

If you have access to your insurance policy, read it to find specific information about what is covered, your deductibles, what kind of documentation is required and policy limitations or exclusions. If you don’t have a copy available to you, contact your insurance company, agent or broker.

Here are more resources from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner: