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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

State Insurance Commissioner Urges Homeowners To Document Wildfire Costs

Verde Creek night firing operation on the Sunrise fire.
Alan McGuire-Dale/Inciweb
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Verde Creek night firing operation on the Sunrise fire.

Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says many homeowners insurance policies can help out with evacuation expenses.

“If you’re subject to a mandatory civil evacuation order many insurance policies will provide extra living expense coverage for up to two weeks,” he says.

Rosendale advises saving all evacuation related receipts.

And he has this advice for anyone who is currently, or who may one day, be threatened by wildfire:

“The most important thing for people to do is to document, document, document. It’s critical,” Rosendale says.

Rep. Matt Rosendale
Credit Eric Whitney
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Montana Public Radio
Matthew Rosendale, Montana's Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.

Rosendale says insurance agents need a good checklist of a policyholder’s possessions that could be destroyed or damaged in a fire.

If those belongings are destroyed, it’s equally important to take pictures of the damage before anything is cleaned up.

Some homeowner policies even cover indirect wildfire-related problems such as smoke or fire-retardant damages.

Damage to trees, landscaping and fencing typically are not covered by insurance policies.

Home Inventory Checklist: http://csimt.gov/wp-content/uploads/InventoryChecklist-6-26-08.pdf

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.
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