Despite recent rains, fire season is coming soon and is predicted to be worse than average. Montana Insurance commissioner Matt Rosendale is pleading with Montanans to prepare for the worst by cataloging valuable possessions, a process that is especially important for those that live in the Wildland Urban interface.

"Thorough inventories should include photos and/or video of the property and possessions," Rosendale said. "Paper inventory lists should be stored in a fireproof safe or at a secondary location, and we ecommend that Montanans keep a digital copy of their inventory online.Property owners and renters should review their insurance policy and know the details of their coverage."

Some of those details may have limits, so it’s important to read the small print.

"Many policies cover losses indirectly caused by wildfires, such as damage from smoke or fire retardant," Rosendale said. "Living expenses are often covered in the event of mandatory evacuation, but evacuees will need to keep track of expenses and receipts. Some property damage may not be covered, or may be limited. Damage to trees, landscaping, and fencing are examples where insurance protection may only apply with capped dollar amounts. Consumers should review their policy and discuss any questions or concerns with their insurance agent."

Last fire season, there were many homes throughout the state that were evacuated in the face of wildfire. Now is a good time to remind those at risk of wildfire evacuation to remember to keep receipts of hotel stays, or other expenditures related to evacuation.

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