Fire Readiness and Your Insurance Coverage

NEW AGENCY


Arizona Department of Insurance
100 North 15th Avenue, Suite 261

Phoenix, AZ  85007-2630


Starting July 1, 2020, we became the
Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI).


Complete three steps to be prepared

STEP ONE: Inventory your contents. 
Making a record of what you have provides two major benefits.  First, it could help you estimate the cost of replacing your contents, which you could use to make sure you have enough insurance coverage.  Second, it will help you identify missing or destroyed items if you need to file an insurance claim. Keep your inventory records in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at a bank, or in a secure online location. 

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free app called, “MyHome Scr.APP.book,” available from Google Play and from the Apple App Store, which can help you keep track of your personal property. 
  • The Insurance Information Institute provides advice that can make creating a home inventory easier (https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory).

STEP TWO: Understand what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers.
If you do not have your policy on hand, get a copy from your insurance company or insurance agent. Then, make sure your policy provides enough coverage for your dwelling, contents and additional living expenses.

  • Dwelling Coverage:  This pays to reconstruct your home, from ground up if necessary.  It does not include the cost of the land on which your home sits because you will still have that, but it should include the cost to remove a destroyed structure and replace it a home that is similar to what you had prior to the fire.
  • Contents Coverage:  This pays to repair or replace your personal belongings. Your policy may provide contents coverage based on a set percentage of your dwelling coverage, but you can pay for more contents coverage if you think you need it. 
    • Check to see if your coverage will pay “actual cash value” or “replacement cost.”  Actual cash value (ACV) means what an item was worth when it was destroyed based on its initial cost minus depreciation or loss in value due to its age, condition and wear-and-tear.  Replacement cost (RC) means the cost to replace or repair damaged or destroyed property with materials of “like kind and quality”. Claims for damaged or destroyed items will initially be paid based on the ACV of the item.  When the item is replaced, a copy of the receipt must be provided to the insurance company to obtain payment of the balance owed.  Many policies require the damaged items to be replaced within six (6) months.
    • If you have expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry or computers, you can purchase or increase “scheduled” property coverage to make sure you have sufficient coverage for those items.
  • Additional Living Expense (a.k.a. Loss of Use) Coverage. This pays additional costs you may resulting from the property damage.  For example, if you are not able to live in your home, your policy may cover the costs of lodging and food, boarding your pets, etc.

Importantly, insurance policies are often lengthy, detailed documents.  Do not hesitate to contact your agent or insurance company representative if you have any questions. 

STEP THREE: Minimize your fire risk.
Periodically inspect your home for overloaded power strips, damaged electrical cords or other potential fire hazards.  Keep vegetation and combustible materials away from your home.  If you are in an area that is at higher risk for wildfire, follow “Avoiding Wildfire Damage” guidelines published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/wildfire/wdfrdam.pdf). 

Remain organized and keep good records

If you are the victim of a fire, remaining organized after an event can be difficult, but it is essential so that you can receive the benefits that your insurance coverage provides.

  • Keep all receipts for living expenses (housing, food, etc.) and for all items that you replace or repair.  Insurance companies may require that you submit original receipts. You should either copy, scan or take clear photos of receipts to provide yourself a backup. 
  • Take photos of your property and the damage.
  • Keep records of all your conversations, emails and letters about your claim with your insurance company and agent.  Take notes of conversations, documenting who you talked to, when you talked to them and what you were told. When possible, send an e-mail message to the person with whom you had the conversation to confirm your understanding of what you were told.
  • Do not throw away or destroy damaged property until your insurer inspects the property and tells you in writing/e-mail that you can do so.
  • Take an inventory of the damaged contents.  If you have an inventory from before the fire, use it to help identify items that were damaged/destroyed. 
  • When the insurer inspects the damage, do a complete walkthrough of your property and point out any issues or concerns you have.
  • When beginning the repair process, get multiple repair estimates from licensed contractors (look up records on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors “Contractor Search” page at https://roc.az.gov/contractor-search) with good reputations (look up records on the Better Business Bureau website at https://www.bbb.org).
  • Don’t delay.  Insurance policies generally have restrictions on how long after a fire you can file claims.

Persons with disabilities may request materials in an alternative format by contacting our Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at (602) 364-0108. 

Priority: 
6
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Title Insurance Shopping Tips

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Arizona Flood Fact Sheet

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Flood Insurance Information

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Home Replacement Cost Estimators

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Homeowners Insurance Check-up

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Insurance and Storms or Disasters

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Making Repairs after a Disaster

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Consumer Guide: Understanding How Insurers Use Credit Information

Learn how insurance companies use your credit information.
 

Flooding after Wildfires: Department of Emergency and Military Affairs

Information about how to protect yourself from increased flooding risk after wildfire flames are extinguished. 

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Key Contacts

If you have questions about flood insurance, including information on the new flood maps and new rate structure, use this document to contact FEMA.  The Department encourages everyone on or near a flood plain to review their insurance policies, contact FEMA with flood-related questions, and be prepared.

Home Sharing

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Consumer Guide: Home Warranty Service Contracts

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Insurers Offering Individual Health Insurance in Arizona

Lists insurance companies that are offering health insurance to individuals and families in Arizona in 2020.  Open enrollment starts November 1st and now runs through December 17th, 2019.  Individuals can start shopping for coverage now at healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov (Spanish)

Governor's Executive Order 2020-07; Proactive Measures to Protect Against COVID-19

Governor Douglas A. Ducey issued a declaration of Public Health Emergency due to the necessity to prepare for, prevent, respond to and mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Ducey also issued Executive Order 2020-07, which will be accessible from the Governor's Executive Orders web page (https://azgovernor.gov/executive-orders).


The Executive Order instructs the Department of Health Services and the Department of Insurance to require all Arizona-regulated insurers to cover COVID diagnostic testing from all qualified laboratories without regard to whether the laboratory is in-network; waive all cost-sharing requirements for consumers related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing; and, cover telemedicine visits at a lower cost-sharing point for consumers than the same in-office service to encourage utilization of telemedicine for the duration of the state's public health emergency.


The Executive Order also instructs the Department of Health Services and Arizona health regulatory boards to prohibit, investigate and take action against price gouging by any healthcare professional or healthcare institution in relation to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment-related services, and requires the Attorney General to investigate and vigorously prosecute complaints of consumer fraud in relation to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment-related services under consumer protection laws.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation In 2019, the Arizona Legislature adopted the NAIC Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Act at Arizona Revised Statutes (“ARS”) by enacting the Corporate Governance Act at Title 20, Chapter 2, Article 16 (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 1).   The Department of Insurance (“Department”) seeks to adopt the correlate Corporate Governance Annual Disclosure Model Regulation.  ARS § 20-492.02 allows the Department to adopt rules to carry out the Act upon notice and an opportunity to be heard.  The Legislature has exempted the Department from Title 41, Chapter 6 for one year after the effective date of the Act.  (Laws 2019, 1st Reg. Sess., Ch. 180, § 2.)
Governor's Executive Order 2020-15; Expands Telemedicine Coverage For Arizonans

Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-15, requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. The order helps ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine can access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider. It remains in effect until the termination of the declared public health emergency. 

“Access to health care is crucial at a time like this,” said Governor Ducey. “This order will ensure that Arizonans can access care without having to leave home while freeing up much needed capacity for our health care providers and hospitals. It’s commonsense and helps ensure our most vulnerable continue to have access to care in a way that protects them and public health.”

Yesterday, Governor Ducey took steps to free up physicians for other needed medical services and ensure access to health care for kids and vulnerable Arizonans receiving care through KidsCare and AHCCCS.

Today’s Executive Order prevents insurers from charging more for a telemedicine visit than they would for an in-person visit. In addition, the order:

  • Requires all Medicaid plans in the State of Arizona to cover all health care services that are covered benefits to be accessible by telemedicine to AHCCCS members, while prohibiting those plans from discounting rates for services provided via telemedicine;
  • Includes all electronic means of delivering telehealth including telephone and video calls;
  • Ensures that a patient’s home is considered an approved location to receive telemedicine services;
  • And prohibits a regulatory board from requiring a medical professional who is authorized to write prescriptions to conduct an in-person examination of a patient prior to the issuance of a prescription.

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