Insurance claims help, donations, and other resources re: the Taylor Bridge wildfire

As fire crews work to rein in the Taylor Bridge fire, some families are being allowed back in to check on their homes, dozens of which have been lost in the first this week.

Here are some tips and resources for those who lost property in the blaze.
  • The state Department of Transportation, which is investigating whether a bridge project contractor caused the fire, is urging anyone who has lost a home or other property to first contact their own insurer.
  • Kittitas County Emergency Services is collecting information on the amount of losses in order to determine if federal disaster assistance will be available. Whether insured or not, it's important that the losses be documented. (Note: The website seems to be offline or overwhelmed; we've had a lot of difficulty opening the page this morning.)
  • According to the DOT, the contractor on the bridge project has set up a process for claims that potentially would be addressed by the contractor's insurer. The phone number provided by the contractor is 1-800-238-6225 for Travelers Insurance.
  • There is also a state claims process for people who feel they were injured by state actions. There is no short-term deadline for filing a claim, according to the DOT. Here's the state's standard tort claim packet, and here's the process for filing it.
  • Insurance claims: For those with insurance, we have these tips about how homeowners and others can expedite their insurance claims. It's important to know that many standard homeowners' policies include some coverage for living expenses -- like a motel -- for folks who lose their homes. That's definitely something to check with your insurer or agent right away. And save receipts for everything, including meals and laundry, that might be relevant. If you need help or run into problems with your insurer, call us at 1-800-562-6900 or email us at AskMike@oic.wa.gov and we'll do our best to help.
  • For those seeking updates or emergency shelter information, the state Emergency Management Division has information. Governor Gregoire has proclaimed a state of emergency in both Kittitas and Yakima counties to free up additional firefighting resources. 
  • If you want to make donations to the many fire victims -- including livestock that had to be evacuated -- please see this donation information from the state Emergency Management Division. It sounds like donation sites have been overwhelmed with stuff; they're now asking that people consider donating money instead. The link above includes numerous local and state organizations trying to help the fire victims.
  • More updates: The local Ellensburg Daily Record and Northern Kittitas County Tribune have running fire updates and photos on their websites.
Categories : Insurance

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