Date: May 16, 2013
For more information contact: J.P. Wieske, Public Information Officer, (608) 266-2493 or jp.wieske@wisconsin.gov

Will Your Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

Madison, WI—Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel expressed concern for the people of Douglas and Bayfield counties who faced the largest wild fire in 30 years in Wisconsin.

"We know the impact of the fire will be devastating for some and we sincerely hope that everyone stays safe," said Nickel. "As the next phase unfolds, we know the immediate aftermath of the fire will be stressful and heartbreaking. We also want to let people know that we're here to help."

"In light of the large wild fire in Douglas and Bayfield counties, I urge everyone to take the time to review their insurance policies," said Nickel. "Check with your insurance company or agent to determine if you have coverage from fire and other perils in addition to your basic dwelling and personal property coverage."

The Governor has declared a State of Emergency in Douglas and Bayfield counties with regard to the wild fire which decimated 9,000 acres of land and has now been contained.

If you have suffered damage from the fire, Commissioner Nickel offers these tips:

  • Notify your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to begin filing a claim. Make sure you provide a telephone and/or e-mail address where you can be reached. Your insurance company may also have representatives on the scene immediately following a major disaster to speed up the handling of claims.
  • Pay attention to local news to find out if state and federal agencies are available on-scene to help with relief efforts.
  • Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost personal property. It will help to take photos of the damage. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage and damaged items. Do not throw out any damaged property without your adjuster's agreement. If local officials require the disposal of damaged items before the insurance company's claims adjuster can inspect the damages, take photos and keep a swatch or other sample of damaged items for the adjuster (e.g., cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, chairs). For more information on completing a home inventory please visit http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-224.pdf (opens in new window).
  • Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
  • Contact your insurance company again if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days.

Commissioner Nickel specifically noted that the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Web site has a Consumers Guide To Homeowner's Insurance and Personal Property Home Inventory (opens in new window) worksheet for consumers to utilize for their personal insurance needs. He also noted that there are specific insurance publications for small business owners, mobile home insurance, condominium insurance and information on how to settle property insurance claims. All of these publications can be found on the OCI Web site at http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list.htm.

Contact your insurance agent or company for more information about property, dwelling and fire insurance. The OCI publications can be ordered free from the agency by writing to OCI Publications, P.O. Box 7873, Madison, WI 53707-7873, calling 800-236-8517 or visiting the OCI Web site at http://oci.wi.gov.


Created by the Legislature in 1871, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.