Wildfire season has become endemic to life in the western United States. The beautiful forests that make the West Coast so desirable are burning at an alarmingly destructive rate, intensifying with each passing year. Climate change and forest management – or lack thereof – are contributing factors, but what does this new reality mean for the at-risk property owner?
The escalation of wildfire season has contributed to a rise in the material costs of lumber, and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a labor shortage. This means that typical homeowners insurance policies may not be enough to rebuild after a wildfire. Recent surveys conducted by United Policyholders (UP), a non-profit organization, found that the biggest barrier to recovery after wildfires is being underinsured.
In fact, if you were insured properly one year ago when you renewed your insurance policy, based on storm surge and increased cost of materials, you could be as much as 25 percent underinsured today – or more.
“Wildfire season is our new normal, and checking your insurance coverage routinely should be our new normal, too. This is one of the most important practices that property owners should undertake. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t bother – and only find out far too late that they are woefully underinsured,” said Steve Severaid, Principal of The Greenspan Co./Adjusters International, who has over 30 years of public adjusting experience. “By reviewing your insurance coverage twice a year, you can verify that your policy is keeping up with the rapid cost increases. When it comes time to rebuild, you will be grateful that you did.”
To spread the word about the critical importance of reviewing your insurance policy, The Greenspan Co./Adjusters International has launched its Check Your Insurance Twice a Year campaign. Utilizing associations to common practices such as changing their smoke alarm batteries and the time on their clocks, Greenspan’s campaign encourages homeowners to add checking their insurance to their twice-a-year regimen. By remembering to look over their insurance regularly, property owners can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that they are adequately protected by their policy before a disaster warrants its use.
Greenspan’s licensed public adjusters, who act as advocates for the insured, have seen firsthand what happens when insurance is inadequate.
“We do what we do to help people during their darkest days,” Severaid said, “but having lackluster coverage makes it harder and more arduous on the claimant. We don’t want to be the ones discovering that our clients are underinsured. Our mission is to help people, but we need them to be as prepared as possible for the best results. Proactively checking your insurance coverage needs to be as second nature to people as changing their clocks or going to the dentist.”
To learn more about how checking your insurance twice a year can help you save your home, visit www.twiceayear.help.
Founded in 1946, The Greenspan Co./Adjusters International is the leading public adjusting firm on the West Coast, serving both commercial properties and homeowners. With more than 75 years of experience, Greenspan Adjusters has the expertise and track record necessary to prepare, present and negotiate insurance claims to ensure you receive what you are entitled to. For more information about how a public adjuster can make your life easier after a loss, visit www.greenspanai.com.