The Impact Of Wildfires On Personal Finances

The Impact Of Wildfires On Personal Finances

The dangerous fire season has been dominating recent news. Wildfires in California have turned into record-setting blazes as the state deals with what seems like endless torched terrain. Smoke industry experts reckon this latest series of wildfires is the biggest blaze in the state’s history, without an end until September.

As expected, exhausted firefighters have battled day and night to contain the flames. Many people have been evacuated as the fires continue to terrorize the region. Only time will tell how the state will recover.

Believe it or not, most of the causes of wildfires are not natural. In fact, humans are accountable for starting as much as 84% of wildfires. As mistakes like starting wildfires continue to happen, it’s wise to make a list of surprising expenses that might come your way if the unexpected happens. After all, a standard property insurance policy is not going to cover everything under the sun.

Costs Of Missing Documents

Without your Social Security number, birth certificate, and other documents, a wildfire survivor might feel like a fish out of water. After all, these documents come in handy for financial or government assistance, or getting an insurance claim filed and approved without a hassle.

No matter how young or old, it helps to store digital copies of important documents, transcripts, and medical prescriptions on an online platform such as Apple, Amazon, or Dropbox, which all offer cloud-based storage services. A backup storage plan will save you time, money, and stress when you need the documents most.

Insurance-Associated Costs

A deductible has been an imperative part of insurance policies for decades, which is the amount an insured individual must pay out of pocket for their loss. In most cases, you can expect to cover multiple deductible payments before the insurance carrier will pay your claims.

To make matters worse, many people find themselves underinsured, which substantially deepens their financial insecurities and risks. Therefore, it’s important to choose the appropriate amount of coverage based on how much you potentially have to lose.

Clean-Up Costs

From removing trees and debris on your property that have been destroyed by wildfire to cleaning everything in between, there’s a cost associated with these services. Even if your insurance company agrees to pay for clean-up costs, you may not have the time to wait for the payment. So there’s a chance you’ll have to pay contractors up front and be reimbursed later.

Food And Shelter Costs

It’s difficult to predict the extent of damage with wildfires and other natural disasters. Electricity and food supply can be scarce for weeks or even months, depending on the extent of damage done by the calamity. Look at Puerto Rico, for example. Eleven months after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on the island, power has finally been restored for most residents.

With the gravity of Puerto Rico’s situation in mind, you’d need cash in hand for food, hotel stays, and other necessities while waiting for restorations to conclude. After all, it’s unlikely an insurance company will pay for meals or hotel stays.

Overpriced/Undelivered Services

The aftermath of wildfires can open the door to scammers looking to take advantage of the crisis. Unlicensed contractors may come to the affected region promising quick repairs at outrageous prices. Some may also demand immediate payment and never deliver the work.

Ask contractors for their license before exchanging money. Moreover, it would be helpful to get references for the sake of work validation. Speak to neighbors about how much they’re paying for similar services. Finally, get a written contract for anything you sign so you can be better protected in case things go south.

Life throws us many curveballs and surprises along the way. That’s why your Life Plan with Mason & Associates is a topic of discussion and may need to be updated as your life changes course from its original path. Whatever the circumstances, we will guide you through the financial challenges that unforeseen events might bring.

Contact our office today by calling us at (323) 254-3072. Book your free 30-minute introductory phone consultation today!

About Mason & Associates, Inc.

Mason & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1989, specializing in Life Planning for individuals, families, and small businesses. Life Planning places a person’s core life values at the heart of the advice process and focuses on the human aspects of financial planning.

As a client, your personal story is key to our planning process. That is why we strive to build a close relationship that will encompass every aspect of your life. Together with our team of professionals, we guide you through the process of identifying what is important to you, your goals, your dreams. We then put into place a financial road map to set you on your way toward achieving your objectives.

Our responsibility does not end there. As you encounter bumps in the road, changes in goals, or any other roadblocks, we are there to offer advice and guidance. We are there to celebrate your successes and cope with your challenges. We work alongside your other professionals, such as your attorney and your CPA, to be sure all of your legal and financial needs are aligned.

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