Getting the right fire and wind insurance

Posted at 9:00 PM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 18:32:03-05

San Diegans are now facing a dual threat of wildfires and extreme wind.

But that means there's still time to make sure your homeowners or renters insurance policies are up to date. A basic homeowners or renters insurance policy covers damages from wildfire and wind. The California Department of Insurance says it's vital to read the exclusions sections of your policy to make sure you have the coverage you want or need.

"If your house burns down and you didn't have much time to get our, you don't even have clothes," said Holly Ferrante, a Lakeside Farmers insurance agent. "You also have to buy new toiletries, new everything."

Ferrante, who had two clients lose their homes in the 2007 San Diego wildfires, says most people have more coverage for their personal belongings than they need. But she says homeowners can get in trouble if they don't adjust their insurance after making an addition to their property. 

"You should talk to your agent annually to verify you do have enough coverage," she said. "Did you add on and not tell your agent? Those are very important things."

Ferrante says anytime someone does something to add value to their homes, they should call their insurance company and make sure they have enough coverage. She says if someone doesn't call until after a wildfire starts near them, there's likely nothing she can do.

"If there's a fire coming at your house right now, our binding authority is removed," she said.

In other words, you're stuck with the amount of coverage you have.