The California insurance commissioner recently released preliminary damage costs that resulted from last months wildfires. According to the commissioner insurance claims from the wildfires have already surpassed $9 billion. That number is likely to grow as claims continue to come in.
Roughly $7 of that $9 billion in claims came from the Camp Fire alone. Now known as the deadliest wildfire in the history of the United States, the Camp Fire claimed 86 lives that we know of so far. Many people from the area are still officially designated as missing. The remaining $2 billion in claims come from Woolsey and Hill fires.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the fires collectively destroyed approximately 20,000 structures. The city of Paradise, CA was particularly devastated—most of those destroyed structures were found in and around the city.
Of course, there are more costs associated with these fires than just insurance claims. You also have to factor in the costs of first responders, unreported claims and more. Experts estimate that it will cost the federal government over $3 billion just to clean up the debris left behind.
California insurance commissioner Dave Jones released a statement about the current claims estimate. According to Jones, “”As the claims get perfected, as individuals get access to their former homes and neighborhoods, as they dialogue with their insurance companies and share more information about the scope of their loss, we expect these numbers to rise,”.
Increasingly brutal wildfire seasons, particularly on the west coast, could force insurers to completely reevaluate their approach to wildfire season. If the costs continue to rise, regular consumers can count on increasing premiums to match it.