Post Date June 21, 2012 – Since wildfires ravaged parts of New Jersey, NJ State Authorities call for homeowners to review their Homeowners Insurance policies to assure their homes have sufficient protection from such type of disasters. New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) together with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) have reminded the state’s residents especially those who live near forest areas to maintain home insurance coverage that have wildfire protection. DOBI acting commissioner, Ken Kobylowski stressed that this months break from extreme dry weather makes it as an ideal time for residents to review their homeowners insurance policies to make sure they have the necessary coverage “to replace their homes and all contents in the event of a loss due to a wildfire.”
Since the start of the year, wildfires had already burned more than 2,500 acres in New Jersey. Though the rains have significantly reduced fire threat levels within the state, wildfires continue to pose a threat especially in the Pine Lands Region of NJ. A report from the State Fire Service showed that the number of wildfires that struck New Jersey areas this year had already exceeded last year’s total. According to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, wildfires are commonly caused by human activity such as arson, or plain carelessness and negligence. Wildfires might start when someone carelessly tossed a cigarette or a match, or due to unattended campfires, or a poorly maintained chimney.
To help residents in reviewing their home insurance policy, the DOBI recommend conducting home inventory to help them assess their insurance needs, and to inquire about the umbrella insurance policy for coverage of high-valued items. To cut down on homeowners insurance expenses, DOBI also recommends that residents should inquire from their insurance providers about discounts when mitigation steps against wildfires are being taken. One item not mentioned in the report is those whom rent their home or apartment near a high risk wildfire area. Keep in mind an owners dwelling or homeowners Insurance Policy which insures the building you live in, will not cover your personal possessions. If they are lost in a fire – they’re gone forever. If you want to guard against a fire loss, you must purchase a Tenants or Renters Policy which not only covers your personal property – it covers you for liability if you started the fire by accident. In many cases, that careless act of a burning cigarette or iron left on is the fault of a renter or tenant. The owner of the building and the others in the building can sue you for negligents. If you maintain a renters insurance policy, you are covered for accidental acts. If you are sued, your renters insurance policy will not only pay for your legal defense, they will pay the amount of the judgement against you.
Michael E. Dortch
President & Managing Agent
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19446
(800) 807-0762 ext. 602