With insurance claims from last months wildfires in California reported at $9 billion dollars, speculation is that this is only the beginning. The amount is expected to increase massively, with no real idea at this point of how high the numbers will top out at.
An estimated $7 billion of the current amount are from the Camp Fire only. This is the fire that completely destroyed the city of Paradise, in Northern California, and claimed the lives of at least 86 people. The Camp Fire earned the title of the deadliest wildfire in the US for at least a century. The remaining amount was from the Woosley and Hill fires, both located in Southern California.
A total of 20,000 structures were destroyed, amongst the three fires, with the most prominent being those located in Paradise. With all the structures burned or damaged, both federal and local authorities stated it could take upwards of $3 billion just to clear out all the current debris.
The current reports of insurance claims of $9 billion are expected to drastically increase. Officials feel once homeowners are able to really evaluate the damage, and relay that to the insurance companies, the total is expected to rise well beyond the current $9 billion reported.
The estimated $9 billion in claims are spread out over several areas. Currently, there are more than 28,000 claims for residential properties alone. Also included in the current total are approximately 2,000 claims for commercial properties, as well as 9,400 claims pertaining to automobiles and other type items.
To help put this into perspective, a wildfire that swept through and significantly damaged California's wine country last year, the losses were claimed to be at $3.3 billion initially, but when all was said and tallied that total ended up closer to $10 billion in damages.
Although it is estimated that the Camp Fire destroyed twice as much property than the wildfire in Southern California the year before, the home values in the two areas are drastically different. To this end, that is why the estimated cost of damage seems to vary so much, keeping in mind that home values in Sonoma versus Butte County are almost doubled.
As was originally feared, the fraudsters have been coming out of the woodwork in an effort to profit on the loss of others. Local officials caution homeowners to make sure to check out anyone who contacts them in an effort to offer help. A little due diligence can go a long way to fewer headaches in the future.
Do you think the insurance claim amounts may in fact double when all is said and done?