With fire insurance, make sure it covers what you need

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California fires have been relentless, destroying homes all over the state — especially in the Central Valley. Making some realize they may not have the proper insurance plan to help rebuild.

60-percent of Americans having underinsured homes, according to insurance information company Core Logic. This means some may not be able to cover the cost of rebuilding their home, even after getting a check to settle their insurance claim.

Jay Higbee is one homeowner rebuilding, after the Detwiler Fire claims his home this summer. On Friday, he was working on creating a new foundation for a well.

“This is just a hell of a loss,” Higbee said.

Higbee adds he’s not in as big fo a hole thanks to his insurance coverage, unlike his neighbors who had none.

Fire coverage is part of a person’s homeowners policy, it’s also in things like renters’ insurance and business insurance. It covers your building’s structure, personal property and liability risk.

Roger Brunelle, a State Farm insurance agent based in Mariposa, said there are cases people will need supplemental coverage. Like flood insurance, some may need additional plans to cover the amount someone needs.

“Some people might have a unique situation, like they have a lot of outbuildings that they would need to customize their policy for,” Brunelle said. “They
might have really expensive personal property, antiques, or artwork.”

In areas ravaged by fire, Brunelle said agencies may be reluctant to take on new clients, even be hesitant to renew policies in those areas.

“A lot of companies have had really large rate increases. That’s jus the nature of where we’re at right now,” he said.

Brunelle advises insuring your home off the cost it would take to rebuild it, which is typically different from the market value.

Higbee admits he miscalculated when he got his insurance. However, he’s happy to have whatever help he can get.

“We’ve been really blessed,” Higbee said. “I think we’re actually going to come out better than we were going in, as far as what we have when we’re finished building.”

When getting a policy, Brunelle recommends calling around to different agencies to find the best plan for you. When you do have a plan, he also recommends visiting your agent periodically to make sure the policy still works for you.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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