Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Information and resources for people who are affected by Washington wildfires

Wildfires are burning in several areas of Central and Eastern Washington, triggering a state of emergency. As of this morning, according to Washington State Department of Natural Resources, 1,200 homes have been evacuated in 12 towns. Sections of Highway 2 and State Route 20 are closed while crews battle the largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history.

For news and information from agencies and organizations involved in the fire response, follow Gov. Inslee’s wildfire list on Twitter. For breaking news about the fires, follow #waWILDFIRE. Gov. Inslee also has a webpage with Washington wildfire resources.

OIC has tips for filing a claim after a natural disaster and how to find disaster resources.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) issued guidance to residents who are affected by wildfires in Central and Eastern Washington:
  • Policyholders who have lost their homes to the fires are immediately eligible for additional living expense (ALE) coverage which may reimburse for increased living expenses such as, lodging, clothing, toiletries and other necessities. Policyholders who are evacuated for a period of time by state or local officials, and do NOT lose their home, may also be eligible for ALE reimbursement if the home next door is damaged by fire, and civil authorities prevent you from returning to your home. Remember to keep your receipts so it will make the claims process easier.
  • Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately.
  • Make a list of all of the damage and any resulting expenses. Keep receipts for anything you buy so you can submit them to your insurance company later.
  • A homeowner should not throw things away until an insurance company representative has had a chance to assess the damage and make a claim report.
Consumers can also seek help with their insurance or ask insurance-related questions by calling our consumer advocates at 1-800-562-6900 or contacting us electronically.