Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper urges anyone affected by the Washoe Drive fire to contact the Nevada Division of Insurance (Division) if you have questions about insurance or need assistance with insurance claims.

Hazards that are generally covered by a home or renter’s insurance policy include damage from fire, wind, smoke or loss of use of your home. If you believe you have an insurance claim, immediately contact your insurance company or your insurance agent to file and discuss the details of your claim. Division’s team of insurance professionals can be reached at (775) 687-0700 or (888) 872-3234 to assist you with any questions that you may have. A list of the claims hotline numbers for Nevada’s ten largest home insurance carrier groups can be found at http://doi.nv.gov/sinfo/doc/claims_hotline_numbers.pdf.

What to Do Immediately Following the Fire

  • Immediately report your claim to your insurance company or your local agent. If available, have a copy of your policy and home inventory on hand. If you cannot find the company or agent’s number, call the Division of Insurance.
  • Make TEMPORARY repairs or arrange for a licensed professional to do so to prevent further damage or theft. SAVE all receipts for your repairs.
  • Take PHOTOS of the damage and remove undamaged personal property if your home cannot be secured.
  • Do NOT dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim.
  • If you need to find other lodging, keep RECORDS of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally provide coverage for expenses like meals, rent and transportation.
  • If you do not have a HOME INVENTORY, make a list of items going room by room from memory. Include as much detail as possible, like where and when the item was purchased, the cost, brand name and model.

From Your Insurance Company

  • Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you.
  • Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement or have questions about the settlement being offered, contact the Division for assistance.
  • Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.
  • Do NOT be surprised if your initial payment for damage to your home is made on an actual cash-value basis (after depreciation). If you have a replacement cost-based insurance policy (no deduction for depreciation), the insurance company will pay the rest of the amount AFTER completion of repairs (and production of receipts).

Making Repairs

  • Be WARY OF FRAUDSTERS who take advantage of the chaos following a wildfire. When choosing a contractor to make repairs, check licensing and references before hiring. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has examined the damage. The adjuster may want to see the estimate before you begin making repairs.
  • Do not pay a contractor the full amount up front or sign over your insurance settlement payment. A contractor should expect a down payment when the contract is signed and the remainder when the work is completed.
  • If the contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in the original assessment by the adjuster, contact your insurance company to resolve the difference. For any disagreements that cannot be resolved, contact the Division for assistance with your claim.

If your insurance company delays in responding to your claim, call the claims department to find out if an adjuster has been assigned. Verify your contact details, especially if you have evacuated your home. Call the Division for assistance if the delay is unreasonable.

Here are some additional links to helpful resources from the Division:

Homeowner’s Insurance Guide

Flood Insurance Guide – Note that Northern Nevada is under a flash flood watch tonight, a threat of particular concern for those living in burned areas.

Earthquake Insurance Guide

Homeowner’s Policies for Top 10 Home Insurance Groups

If you have any questions about the coverages in your policy, or if you need help with a problem regarding your claim following a fire or other loss at your home, contact the Division at (775) 687-0700 or (888) 872-3234.