Oklahoma Insurance Department prepared to work with wildfire victims
OKLAHOMA CITY – As wildfires continue to tear through parts of western Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Insurance Department says it is ready to help wildfire victims.
Currently, field representatives are placing yard signs listing the OID consumer assistance phone number in affected areas. Victims with insurance claims questions are encouraged to call 1-800-522-0071.
“These historic and devastating wildfires are going to affect a lot of people and we want to help,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “While the current goal is to extinguish the flames, soon the focus will turn to recovery. We want to make sure those with damage know how we can help in the rebuilding process. Our Consumer Assistance Division can answer questions about insurance claims while our Anti-Fraud investigators will be combing the damaged areas to warn victims about fraud.”
Fires in northwestern Oklahoma have burned more than 200,000 acres in the last few days. So far, hundreds of residents have been evacuated.
OID offers the following tips to help consumers prepare for wildfires:
Use caution. Know potential fire hazards associated with campfires, grills and burning yard debris. Make sure your fire extinguisher is accessible and each family member knows how to use it.
Have a plan. Know your evacuation route. Have a designated place to stay in case you cannot return immediately.
Store insurance information safely. Make regular updates to your homeowners or renters insurance policy and home inventory. Store both in a secure place, such as a fireproof safe, a safe deposit box or online. Keep information for your insurance agent and company on hand.
Stay up-to-date. Monitor news and if possible, subscribe to text or email alerts in your community.
Evacuate quickly. If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do so immediately. Remember the Six Ps of Evacuation: People, pets, prescriptions, papers, personal needs and priceless items.
Call 911. Provide the location of the fire and a description of the situation.
Proceed with caution. Hazards, including hot spots, may exist in burned areas. Wear leather gloves, protective clothing and thick-soled shoes. Use local alerts, radios and other sources, such as FEMA or the American Red Cross, for timely information.
Photograph property damage. Call your insurance agent or insurer’s claims hotline as soon as it is safe. Your policy might require that you make the notification within a certain time frame.
Avoid fraud. Home repair fraud is common after disasters. Be wary of aggressive contractors or demands of up-front repair payment. If you have concerns, call our Anti-Fraud Division at 1-800-522-0071.