As fires burn across Oregon and many Oregonians are forced to evacuate, those impacted by the fire might wonder what their home insurance will cover and who they can turn to when they need help.
The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has a dedicated team of local consumer advocates who can help answer any questions that homeowners might have about their insurance coverage or the claims process. You can contact them toll-free at 888-877-4894 or online at www.dfr.oregon.gov. You can also file a complaint against your insurance company, agent, or adjuster, if necessary with the division.
The division has the following tips to help homeowners impacted by fire, smoke, or ash damage:
- Most insurance companies will pay for additional living expenses, including hotel, meals, and more, as a result of a fire evacuation. Keep all receipts, and call your insurance company or agent as soon as it is safe to do so to notify them of your evacuation.
- Keep and maintain a home inventory. Whether it is a detailed spreadsheet with itemized receipts or a walkthrough of your home recorded on a smartphone, it is always helpful to have documentation of your possessions and property in case you do have to file a claim.
- If you file a fire-loss claim with your insurance company, your insurer may require a damage inspection before you start repairs. Take steps to prevent further damage or theft, and then check with your insurance company before beginning repairs.
- Most claims adjusters and some agents are authorized to write you a check for the actual cash value of your damaged property. This amount is usually less than the replacement cost. In most cases, this is an initial payment and you will receive additional funds once you start replacing your property.
- Damage to a vehicle, even when parked in a garage, is not covered under a home policy. You need to have comprehensive auto coverage to pay for damages or total loss to a vehicle.
- If you have any questions or complaints about your insurance, contact the division at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or at www.dfr.oregon.gov.