LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- More than a dozen fires are burning across Northern California and Governor Brown has declared a State of Emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties. An estimated 1,500 structures and more than 73,000 acres have already been burned, and authorities are issuing evacuation notices. Mercury Insurance is ready to assist homeowners policyholders who have had to leave their homes or whose property has suffered fire damage. Mercury representatives are available to help with claims (http://www.mercuryinsurance.com/insurance-claims/how-to-file-insurance-claim.html), arrange for temporary housing and provide assistance with living expenses if policyholders suffer a covered loss or were forced to evacuate. The Mercury Insurance claims team has set up an evacuation center located at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
"These fires are devastating and dangerous. It's important for people to stay in a safe place and not ignore evacuation orders or road closures to check on potential damages to their homes," said Mercury's Chief Claims Officer Randy Petro. "However, we want our customers to know that our claims team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help during this difficult time. Policyholders affected by the North Bay fires should call the Mercury Claims Hotline at (800) 503-3724 and we'll do everything we can to help as quickly as possible."
Californians can help spread this message by following @MercuryIns on Twitter and ReTweet: "Mercury policyholders impacted by the #northbayfires call (800) 503-3724 to file a claim ASAP."
The fires have spread rapidly and fire fighters are battling blazes in extremely dry and windy conditions.
Petro has some advice for those who have to evacuate their homes.
Preparing to leave your home
- Take out your family emergency plan and review it with all family members so you are prepared in the event you need to evacuate your home. This plan should include items you will need to bring with you, the place where you will all meet, and a list of who is responsible for specific tasks. It should also include a plan for your pets to ensure they are safe and happy and have everything they will need.
- Stay in touch with local law enforcement to get an idea of when evacuations might be happening and if any roads will be closed because of the fire.
- Follow the evacuation routes posted by local law enforcement.
- Leave early and don't wait until the last minute to get to safety.
- Try to keep a full tank of gas in your vehicle, as gas stations might be busy or closed along the evacuation route.
- Gather prized and irreplaceable possessions, medications and important documents, like birth certificates, passports, bank account information, medical documents and insurance policies. Make sure these are boxed and near the door so they can be easily loaded into your vehicle at a moment's notice.
- Pack clothes, phone chargers, and comfort items and load them into your vehicle. Inquire with local law enforcement to see if they have an estimated amount of time that you'll be away from your home.
- Secure your home by locking doors and windows, turning off and unplugging electrical devices except your refrigerator and freezer, unless instructed by the fire department. You should also turn off the gas and water at the mains prior to leaving. Turning off the water will help to maintain water pressure for firefighters battling the blaze.
- Let friends and family members not staying with you know where you're going and how to get ahold of you. It is best to do this through a phone call and not social media.
- If you have young children, make sure you bring their favorite toys, stuffed animals and other items that will help them feel safe during this scary time.
If a claim needs to be filed, Petro advises policyholders follow a few simple procedures to the process.
When filing a claim
- Contact Mercury immediately to report your loss.
- Be prepared to provide your policy number.
- Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.
Steps after filing a claim
- Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
- Offer photos or video tapes of your home and possessions to your adjuster, if these are available.
- Keep copies of communications between you and your adjuster.
- Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home and provide copies to your adjuster.
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCE
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.
SOURCE Mercury Insurance