Through our Roadmap to Recovery® program, you can access free, trustworthy help navigating the process of returning to a wildfire damaged area, repairing and replacing damaged and destroyed property, and collecting all available insurance funds.
If your property is damaged or destroyed, our guidance will help you get started on the road to recovery, make good decisions and keep moving forward. United Policyholders is non-profit and has expertise based on nearly three decades of assisting in communities hit by wildfires. Our staff, disaster veteran and professional volunteers and our partnerships with public, private and non-profit agencies and organizations will help lighten your load. We don’t sell our services or provide one-on-one professional claim or legal help, but we offer honest, free and experienced guidance and links to reliable professional and government resources. We’re rooting for you and here to help. No strings attached.
We encourage you to take advantage of wildfire recovery help that’s available through the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s office. This includes a toll-free hotline, 800-562-6900. See the recent Commissioner-letter-on-debris-removal.
Below you will find shortcuts to items in our extensive library of resources that should be most useful and relevant to your current situation. Our Roadmap to Recovery® program provides tips, tools and the straight scoop on insurance, clean up, contractors, lawyers, adjusters, your legal rights and how to avoid ripoffs and mistakes. We offer emotional support from people who genuinely care about helping you navigate successfully because they’ve “been there, done that” after past wildfires.
NOTE: United Policyholders respects and protects the privacy of all who communicate with our organization. We do not share or sell our mailing lists.
Watch our FIRST STEPS AFTER A WILDFIRE video here.
Taking it in and Getting Started
TIP: If your home was destroyed or damaged in the wildfire, when you file your insurance claim, be sure to ask for a cash advance of your “Additional Living Expense” coverage to help you get situated.Resources General
- First Steps After a Wildfire
- Primeros Pasos Despues de un Incendio Forestal
- Top 10 Insurance Claim Tips
- A Simplified Guide to Your Homeowners Policy
- Sample Letter Requesting Complete Copy of Homeowners Policy
- Speak UP: How to communicate with your insurance company
- Avoiding Frauds and Scams After a Disaster
- Register with FEMA (if/when declared)
- Insurance Lingo en Español
- AT&T Disaster Recovery - Customer Relief
- Arranging Temporary Housing
Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
- Getting Debris Removed
Being Pro-active in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
If you lost your home, please read through the steps and publications on this page and sign up to receive updates from us that will help you in your recovery.
Partial Losses/Standing Homes
If your home was spared but was exposed to extreme heat and smoke, we offer specialized guidance on partial loss insurance claim issues related to proper cleaning, inspecting for damage, restoring healthy indoor air quality and repairing obvious as well as hidden damage.Resources General
- Insurance Recovery Tips for the Dwelling Part of Your Claim
- The Scoop on “Scope” (of loss)
- Guidelines For Reviewing Adjusters’ And Contractors’ Estimates
- Xactimate Demystified
- Survivors Speak: Estimating Your Loss
- Sample Letters and Claim Documents
- Reimbursement for Claim Preparation Expenses
- Insurance Coverage for Damaged or Destroyed Septic Systems
- Guest Blog: Mobile Inspections for Property Claims
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
Making Housing and Financial Decisions
Choosing a Contractor
Working with Your Mortgage Company
Your mortgage company cannot require you pay off your loan with your insurance proceeds, but they will typically be listed on the insurance payments along with you. Fannie Mae’s Here2Help program can help eligible homeowners navigate the broader financial impacts of disaster and the challenging recovery process with a team of HUD-approved housing counselors offering:
- A personalized recovery assessment and action plan
- Help with claims and denials from FEMA, insurance, mortgage servicers, and other sources
- Web resources and ongoing guidance and check-ins from experienced disaster relief advisors
Homeowners can call 877-437-3243 to access this program or other available resources.
Visit Fannie Mae’s FannieMae.com/HERE2HELP consumer website for housing resources, including details on disaster relief.Resources General
Getting help if/when you need it
If you suffer a major loss involving a large sum of money, you may need to hire professional help to get a full and fair settlement. If you need assistance beyond insurance claim help, check with your local government and nonprofit organizations to see if disaster case management is available to help you develop a realistic long-term recovery plan (please note this should not replace professional help). The disaster case manager can help identify and facilitate access to appropriate community resources that will support the plan. This typically will be set up during the long-term recovery phase.Resources General
- Taking Care of Yourself Along the Way
Government Bulletins & Announcements
- File an insurance complaint in Washington
- Washington Contractors State Licensing Board
- Washington Department of Insurance
- 2023-01: Providing relief to Washington consumers from 2023 wildfires by addressing grace periods for nonpayment of premium and temporarily prohibiting cancellation and nonrenewal of property insurance policies