When forest fire situations arise, we know there are many questions about insurance coverage, ability or inability to buy new coverage, and available options. We’ll try to address some of the more common questions here, however please remember that every insurance policy can be quite different, this is meant as a general over-view only. If you have questions or require confirmation as to how your policy may respond – we urge you to contact your insurance provider for such information and confirmation.
Question: Can I buy insurance for a property that is in an area affected by the fires?
Answer: Unfortunately no, insurance companies suspend binding authority in areas that are currently or are in imminent danger of being affected by a forest fire. Of course any coverage or limits of insurance that were in effect prior to the escalated fire situation remain in force (subject to policy conditions), however new coverage or changes to existing coverage are not available at this time in affected areas.
Question: Are contents in my cabin / camper trailer insured?
Answer: Your license plate, or personal auto pak policy will not cover contents of a camper / cabin trailer. Auto insurance will insure only the trailer itself. However, your homeowners insurance policy may be able to extend coverage to contents temporarily removed (those items you take back and forth from home to trailer). If you’ve purchased an extension of coverage under your homeowners policy for contents kept in a vacation trailer, then this coverage would respond for the contents of camper / cabin trailers.
Question: Does my homeowners policy provide coverage for the costs associated with being forced out of my home due to the proximity of the fires?
Answer: There are two types of response that a homeowners policy may offer in the event a fire damages/destroys or threatens an insured home:
1) Mass Evacuation Coverage: Provides coverage for additional living expenses incurred when the insured person is forced to evacuate their home, because a public authority has denied access to your home because of an unexpected event. Usually this coverage is available for up to 2 weeks’ time, and can not exceed 20% of the limit of insurance on the dwelling. This coverage does not require that physical damage from an insured peril has affected the home.
2) Increased Living Expense Coverage: Provides coverage for those increased costs of living, including moving costs, that are required to maintain a normal standard of living following the insured loss / destruction of insured property. This coverage is available until the insured property is repaired or replaced, or the insured person permanently relocates (within a reasonable time). This coverage does require that an insured peril (such as fire) has actually caused damage to the insured property.
** See actual policy wordings from a common habitational insurance policy below:
You may use up to 20% of the amount of protection shown on your
Cover Page for your dwelling to pay for Increased Living Expenses when
a public authority denies you access to your premises because of a
mass evacuation order due to a sudden or unexpected event. We will pay
these costs for up to 2 weeks. The amount we pay, unless your Cover
Page shows that you have Single Amount of Protection, adds to your
total amount of protection.
We will not pay costs due to:
a) flood meaning waves, tides, tidal waves and the rising of, the
breaking out or the overflow of, any body of water, whether
natural or man-made.
c) war, invasion, act of foreign enemy, hostilities (whether war be
declared or not), civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection or
military power or terrorism.
d) any nuclear incident as defined in the Nuclear Liability Act,
nuclear explosion or contamination by radioactive material.
1. Increased Living Expenses. If the loss makes your dwelling
unliveable, we will pay for your moving costs. We will pay for the
reasonable increase in your cost of living required to maintain your
normal standard of living. We will not pay expenses for things that are
not needed to support you during the period your dwelling remains
We will continue to pay only until you repair or replace your
dwelling, or you permanently relocate. We will give you a
reasonable time to repair or replace your dwelling and to settle your
2. Lost Rental Income. We will pay for your actual loss of rental
income for those parts of your dwelling or outbuildings that you
were renting out when the loss took place. We will pay for the fair
rental value of this property even if it was not rented out when the
loss took place. You must show us that you were trying and able
to rent it out at the time of loss. We will pay until you have had a
reasonable length of time to repair your dwelling or outbuildings. We
will deduct any savings in expenses, such as electric and water bills,
which stop because of the loss.
We will not pay for any increased costs for Increased Living Expenses or
Lost Rental Income, due to unnecessary delays on your part, to repair or
replace your dwelling or outbuildings, relocate, or settle your household.
We will also pay for Increased Living Expenses and Lost Rental Income
when a public authority denies you access to your premises. We will
pay these costs for up to 2 weeks. The denial can be due to actual or
threatened damage to your dwelling or outbuildings. But it must be due
Information provided is in general terms with respect to common forms of insurance. Cornerstone Insurance does not assert that this information is applicable to all policies of insurance, and reccomends that policy holders speak with their insurance provider to determine the coverage afforded under their individual policy of insurance