How to prepare your home for an Arizona wildfire

PHOENIX - Don't wait until the flames are at your doorstep to start the preparation process during Arizona's wildfire season.

Ron Williams, executive director at the Arizona Insurance Council, said people who may be in the path of the wildfire should be in contact with their insurance company.

You want to make sure your insurance covers not just what your house is worth, but what it will cost to replace, Williams said.

Williams advices insurance policies should cover hotels, meals, travel and other expenses you may incur after being evacuated from your home.

Tell your insurance company about any recent updates and remodeling jobs you may have done in your home, he added.

It helps insurance companies come up with a more accurate replacement cost of the home, Williams said.

"If you've installed a theft prevention system, if you've installed fire sprinklers in your home...those things add to the ability of your insurance company to say, ‘Okay your property is safer than your neighbor's,'" Williams said.

Create what he calls a defensible space.

For example, Williams advices keeping trees and debris away from the house or replace old materials with fire resistant materials.

"Embers from a wildfire are the first thing that will touch that house," Williams said.

Put all your important documents in one place, he added.

The Arizona Insurance Council has free software you can use that helps scan picture and documents, which Williams said can later be useful when making claims.

Print a wildfire safety checklist from the Red Cross.

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