July 27 2009                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

A Smart Wildfire Preparedness Plan Includes Insurance Protection, Home Inventory


      What You Need to Know About Insurance Before Wildfire Strikes
      
      HELENA, Mont. - Wildfires, thunderstorms, and hail can strike anywhere in Montana this time of year. That’s why now is a good time for Montana homeowners and renters to prepare their property, make sure their insurance needs are in order, and determine the steps they will need to take after a disaster strikes.
      
      Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen encourages Montanans to take some time to refamiliarize themselves with their policies and to address any questions with their insurance agent or company.
      
      Montana homeowners and renters are urged to compile a comprehensive list of their belongings and their value. This list will help them file an insurance claim after a disaster:
      
      http://www.sao.mt.gov/images/index_disaster_section_inventory_checklist.pdf
      
      Creating an inventory list and storing it in a safe location away from home is one of the most basic disaster preparedness steps anyone can take to help protect themselves and their financial future.
      
      A national survey conducted in 2008 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) revealed a significant lack of preparedness among consumers in documenting their belongings.
      
      • Nearly half, 48 percent, said they did not have an inventory of their possessions.
      
      • Of those consumers who reported having a checklist, 32 percent had not taken any pictures • And 58 percent had no receipts validating the cost of their possessions.
      
      • In addition, 44 percent of respondents acknowledged that they had not stored their inventory in a remote location.
      
      For important information about preparing for wildfires, visit http://csi.mt.gov or call the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance at 1-800-332-3148
      
      The Commissioner’s office also offers Wildfire Preparedness seminars for Montana communities through its speaker’s bureau program. To schedule a presentation in your community call 1-800-332-6148.