Wildfire and insurance
If you are affected by the Oregon wildfires, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to discuss your current situation and learn about next steps. If you still have questions or concerns, the division’s consumer advocates are here to help. Call 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or visit
dfr.oregon.gov/help to connect with the Advocacy Team.
Recovering from wildfire takes time, but the information below will help you save time, money, and stress at each stage of the recovery process.
If you are part of a mandatory evacuation:
- When it is safe, contact your insurance company to let them know you have
been evacuated, check your policy coverage, and learn about next steps.
- Save your receipts. Many insurance policies cover expenses such as lodging,
food, and even pet boarding.
- Check with your insurance company to confirm your specific coverage.
- Try to use some time to work on a home inventory list. If your personal
belongings are damaged, the insurance company will request a list of items
that are damaged or destroyed.
- Look through photos and videos to help recall personal items. Pay close
attention to what is in the background and look for smaller items, such
- To the best of your ability, write down the age, original cost, and replacement
cost of each item.
Level 1 and 2 evacuation alert
If you are on alert to evacuate:
- Contact your insurance company to check your policy. Coverage is typically
available for fire, smoke, and ash damage to your home and personal property.
- Ask about your auto coverage. You need comprehensive coverage on your auto
policy to cover fire, smoke, or ash damage to your vehicle, no matter where
your vehicle is at time of the loss.
- If it is safe to do so, make a quick home inventory. Take photos or video
of each room in your home. Pay close attention to what is on the walls and
in drawers and closets. Do not forget storage areas such as the attic and
garage. Check your insurance company’s website for an app or checklist that
will help. You can also use the Insure
U Home Inventory Checklist.
When it is safe to return
- Be sure to make safety a top priority when surveying damage to your home.
- Try to contact your insurance company as soon as possible if your home
or property is damaged. Ask about making temporary repairs, take photos of
the damage, and save receipts for any work that is done.
Filing an insurance claim
- If you file a claim with your insurance company, your insurer may require
a damage inspection before you start repairs. Try to prevent further damage
or theft by making temporary repairs, save receipts for temporary work, and
check with your insurance company before beginning repairs.
- Do not get rid of anything that is damaged until your insurance company
has seen it and said you can toss it out.
- One of the most daunting tasks of the claim process can be filling out
an inventory of your damaged personal items. Your insurance company needs
this to document the personal property that is damaged or destroyed. Take
your time; you do not need to give every item to your adjuster at once. Just
make sure to ask how long you have to submit your list.
- Prepare a list that includes the item, the age, the approximate original
cost, and the approximate replacement cost.
- Do not dispose of the damaged items until your adjuster can view them.
Take photos of the damaged items yourself.
- Contact your mortgage company to understand how it manages insurance payments.
Checks may be written to both you and the mortgage company as payments are
- If your car is damaged by the fire, you will need comprehensive coverage
on your auto policy to cover the damage, even if it parked in a garage. Damage
to a vehicle is not covered under a homeowners policy.
Settling an insurance claim
- After the investigation is completed and the insurance company is ready
to settle your claim, it will typically be paid in two steps:
- Step 1 – Actual cash value. This means the initial payment
will be for the value of the damaged property at the time of loss. This
is established by depreciating the cost of the repairs and the replacement
cost of the damaged personal property. The initial payment will be less
than the full amount needed to do the job, but it will help you get repairs
started, or begin purchasing replacement property.
- Step 2 – Replacement cost. Once the repairs are completed,
or a new item is purchased, the company will reimburse you the difference
between the actual cash value and the full repair or replacement cost.
You will have a deductible that applies to the entire loss.
- Be sure to talk to your insurance company about your specific policy
and how payments will be made.
- If you need to be out of your home during the repairs, most policies will
cover additional living expenses such as lodging, food, and even pet boarding.
Talk to your insurance company to understand how the coverage applies.
- If you have a renters policy, it will typically cover your personal belongings
and personal liability, similar to the way a homeowners policy does. You
will need to make a list of damaged items with the age, original cost, and
the cost to replace it. Give the list to your insurance adjuster. Typically,
the building owner’s policy covers the building you live in, but does not
cover your property, your cost to find other housing, or your personal liability.
- The tips in the sections above will help you with reporting and filing
your renters claim.
Wildfire insurance emergency orders
The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order in response to the Oregon wildfires. It requires insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and nonrenewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage, contact your provider. If you have questions or need to
file a complaint on an insurance company or agent, contact the division’s advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or
Press the buttons below to learn more about building a home inventory, gathering important documents, and preparing your family and finances for disaster.