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Sonoma County Gazette
Learning From the Fires

Learning From the Fires -
Insurance Lessons and Planning

Feb 2, 2018


By Fawn Nekton

The recent catastrophic fires in both Northern and Southern California should serve as a wake-up call to home and business owners everywhere! A lot of people view insurance as a mandated requirement that is costly and confusing, however, if the fires taught us anything, it is that the proper insurance is an absolute necessity!

Many people are now realizing that they were woefully under-insured or that certain items or properties were excluded from their coverage, leaving them in a position where they cannot afford to rebuild or replace their possessions.

There are many lessons to be learned from these tragic events…

Most importantly, understand the insurance you are purchasing and why. In the past most people’s primary focus was on cost. What was the minimum amount they would have to spend in order to satisfy the lending institution’s coverage requirements? Unfortunately, as we are seeing now, there is a large amount of people currently left in a lurch because of this poor and short-sighted approach. Working with an insurance professional that can clearly explain coverages & options and assist you to accurately estimate your properties values and replacement costs is critical. Saving a few dollars by under insuring your property is a major mistake that can have a dramatic and negative effect on your future.

As the owner of Gaffney Insurance in Occidental I have observed that post-fire client engagement is at an all-time high. The fires have affected so many local people that our clients are now realizing that it is crucial to understand what is covered (and what is not) and to make sure that their policy limits are accurate and appropriate for each person’s individual needs. 

At Gaffney Insurance we are contacting every single one of our clients and inviting them to review their coverages with us. We have always quoted ‘comprehensive coverage’ not ‘price’. Our office tries to write the best possible coverage for each unique situation – whether that is an umbrella policy that packages home, auto and personal or an ‘a la carte’ policy for homes and situations that are more difficult to insure such as post and pier, vacation rentals, homes in heavily forested areas etc. I recommend that you review your policy with your agent or better yet call us at 707-874-2666.

The takeaway from the devastating fires and subsequent mudslides (not to mention the upcoming flood season) is to have adequate, personalized and up-to-date coverages that have been customized to your specific needs to ensure that you are able to rebuild and replace your property. Don’t be caught unable to rebuild or repair because of poor quality and low levels of insurance. Do your due-diligence, examine your current policies, make sure you understand them and make sure you have the coverage needed. Need help? Look for an insurance professional that actively listens, asks questions about your situation, and can clearly explain your options.


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