Experts Say Fire Victims Should Carefully Read Insurance Policies

RENO, NV - Police warn--scammers will try to take advantage of the Caughlin Fire. Going straight through your insurance company is a way to help reduce risk of scammers. There's also some questions you should ask to make sure you get the benefits you're entitled to.

"By the time I left the fire had reached the back of my house. When I left at 3:30 am, I could see flames over the top of the house and we had the brush dropping down in the back yard," says Chris Jaime.

Firefighters told the Jaime family to leave Friday at three am. Now, two days later, the clean-up process begins.

Chris says his insurance agent has been extremely helpful.

Experts say it's important to know your policy and understand what's all covered.

"They may have renters insurance, they may have homeowner insurance, and those type of policies provide coverage for any damage to the property," says Curtis Coulter, an insurance attorney.

Coulter has spent 24 years learning the ins-and-outs of homeowner's insurance.

He says it's important for families like the Jaimes to make a list of everything damaged. That's exactly what they spent Sunday doing.

Trees in their back yard were also damaged. Curtis says landscape is usually covered under your insurance.

"Make sure you look through your insurance policy it will talk about debris removal, plants shrubs trees, and there's a limit on how much they will pay and that's usually stated in your policy," says Coulter.

Residents who live off Ridgeview are now remembering what the land looked like before flames ate up grass, bushes, trees and homes.

American Red Cross volunteers stopped at different homes Sunday to help people anyway they could.

As this neighborhood rebuilds, families like the Jaimes will never forget the feeling of having less than a minute to grab everything-that meant so much.

Curtis also recommends taking a picture of everything before you starting cleaning-up. If you have damage of any kind (even smoke damage), talk to your insurance agent before you start doing anything yourself, you may save yourself some time and money.


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