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Protect your finances from wildfire with these simple steps

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 9:47 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Losing a home to wildfire is a devastating blow, but much of the shock and loss can be softened with simple steps you can take now to prepare.

We sat down and talked with Nevada Region Bank President, Brian Formisano about simple preparations that could help you recover from this kind of disaster.

Below is the checklist of actions you can take in advance:

1. Save important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, wills, deeds, tax returns, insurance policies and stock and bond certificates, on an external drive. These records are often needed for tax and insurance purposes.

2. Use a smart phone or camera to make a visual record of your possessions, including cars, boats and recreational vehicles. Or perhaps, write an inventory list.

3. Photograph the interior and exterior of your home, including landscaping, making special note of any improvements, such as a patio, fencing or outbuildings, as these may increase property value and help with insurance claims.

4. Check with your insurance company to review what your policy covers and determine if additional insurance/coverage is needed. For example, emergency shelters may not be an option for families who are displaced by an emergency given the social distancing guidelines brought on by COVID-19, so customers may want to consider looking into coverage for temporary housing in Nevada.

5. Consider setting up online banking, mobile banking, bill pay and electronic account alerts. This will help you stay on top of your accounts and bills if you’re displaced from your home. If you already have online banking, check to make sure that your online profile is up to date, in case your bank or lender needs to contact you post-wildfire. A Wells Fargo personal banker in a branch can help with this.

6. Have cash or an emergency fund that is easily accessible. A wildfire can shut down Wells Fargo ATMs and branches in Nevada. After a wildfire, you may need cash for the first few days, or even several weeks.

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