Damage from the recent wildfires plaguing Northern California totals more than $3 billion according to Insurance Commissioner David Jones. Assuming that figure is accurate, that makes these fires the costliest in the history of the United States.
The closest runner up is the Oakland Hills fire from 1991, which totaled $1.7 billion in damages at the time, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Yes, that was over 25 years ago, but even if you adjust for inflation that’s only $2.7 billion in today’s dollars. To put that in perspective, Sonoma County alone has totaled $2.8 billion in losses this year.
Unfortunately, Sonoma County was not the only area affected by wildfires in Northern California this year. According to Jones, insured losses from the Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Solano county fires that erupted at the same time push the overall damage from the North Coast fires to $3.2 billion.
In total, 3,963 structures were completely destroyed in Sonoma County, while 7,776 were partially damaged. In Mendocino County, 143 insured homes were destroyed, while 143 were partially damaged. In Napa County, 392 homes were completely destroyed, while 1,222 were partially damaged. In total, that means that 4,573 homes were completely destroyed, while 9,568 suffered partial damages.
It’s important to remember that those numbers are just for residential homes! Many businesses were affected by the fires and a lot of vehicles were damaged as well. So far 713 commercial property owners have filed insurance claims pertaining to wildfire damage. As far as vehicle losses go, 3,058 people reported a loss on their personal car, resulting in $23.2 million in losses.
Jones put these numbers in perspective for Insurance News Net, saying that “As shocking as $3 billion in insured losses are, the number is sure to grow, as more claims are coming. It will take years for these communities to recover and rebuild.”.
There is no question that California is in the midst of their worst wildfire season yet and the damage costs are only going to rise as claims continue to flood in.