Wildfire claims average $224k
Preparing your property and having a plan before a wildfire strikes can help reduce damage
There is little doubt that wildfires have a devastating impact on communities. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), there were nearly 59,000 wildfires in the U.S. last year that burned over 7 million acres of land. Currently, 4.5 million U.S. homes are identified as being at high risk of wildfire, making wildfire preparation critical.
According to recent data released by State Farm, the average wildfire paid claim is $224,000, an 8% increase over last year with 95% of those being in California, Oregon, and Colorado. Between April 2021 - March 2022, the highest claims were concentrated in those three states:
- California - 65% - $207k average paid claim
- Colorado - 24% - $365k average paid claim
- Oregon - 6% - $211k average paid claim
The recent wildfire statistics show us that proactive mitigation efforts prior to a fire event are critical before evacuation warnings or orders are issued by the authorities. This is why State Farm reminds residents to be proactive, to adopt mitigation measures in their properties, and to always be prepared for the possibility of an emergency or catastrophe. As the weather becomes hot and dry, this is what you can do to create a defensible space around your property, easily and inexpensively:
- Remove dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches and dried leaves 5-100 feet around your property.
- Keep your roof and gutters clear of debris and remove overhanging branches.
- Keep grass and weeds mowed.
- Fill five feet around the base of the structure(s) with fire resistant plants or materials, such as gravel.
There’s even more that you can do to prepare on the financial side of things.
Financial action items
- Talk to your agent: review together your homeowners insurance policy and discuss your coverage needs to protect your home and its contents in case of wildfire damage.
- Understand the deductible: higher deductibles lower your premium, but increase the amount you must pay out of your own pocket if a covered loss occurs.
- Understand Market Value vs. Replacement Cost: market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land. Replacement cost for this purpose is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the home.
- Home Inventory: an effective home inventory includes a list and a visual record. With a smartphone, take video or photos and move from room to room, listing items as you go. Keep a copy of it in a safe location away from your property.
- Evacuation plan: make, discuss and practice an evacuation plan. Plan for your pets too. Having it can save valuable time during an emergency, when you have to act quickly.
- Evacuation package: it should be in one place, ready to go in minutes, and everyone should know where it is. It must contain vital documents, medications, key financial information and irreplaceable Items (e.g.: paper photos, family heirlooms, etc).
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.