If Your Home Is Under-Insured, Don't Expect a FEMA Bailout After a Disaster

Important reminder regarding maintaining sufficient homeowners' insurance.

Several major wildfires are burning in California right now, which have already led to destruction of homes as well as loss of lives. It's tragedy on a scale that no one could have seen coming.

Unfortunately, when insuring one's home, planning for what one cannot imagine is crucial. United Policyholders (UP), a nonprofit providing information and assistance on insurance matters, has been personally meeting with wildfire evacuees who have lost everything they own, and report that "Recovering from a loss without (any or enough) insurance is a very bleak prospect."

According to a recent UP tip, when a disaster is officially declared federal, you can't expect big bucks from FEMA, with the average FEMA grant to an individual at $5,000. Even the maximum of $32,000 looks like nothing when you're facing the task of replacing your home and all your possessions (and living somewhere in the meantime).

Wildfires are not a problem that's limited to California. The Insurance Information Institute (III) notes that in 2015 study by CoreLogic, almost 900,000 residential properties across 13 states in the Western U.S. are currently considered to be at high or very high risk of wildfire damage.

That makes now an excellent time to review your homeowners' policy. See Nolo's articles on Home Defects, Damages, Injuries, and Insurance for more information.