Creek Fire: After seeing costs rise, foothill homeowners hope insurance can cover damage

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a nightmare no homeowner ever wants to live.

For Becca Goodman, a video of her Meadow Lakes home sent to her by a friend shows just how hard fire crews worked. They stopped the fire at her back porch.

"I can't even thank the firefighters enough and the dozer workers and everybody because my house still stands," Goodman said.

Many of her neighbors were not as fortunate. Becca has lived in the area her entire life, but recently she's paid royally for it's serene yet flammable location.

"The insurance has been crazy. Every year it goes up. They threaten to drop you because we are in a high fire area. I think my insurance has gone up within the last few years at least four thousand dollars."

With the evacuation numbers rising by the day, many foothill residents are leaving with their insurance paperwork in hand.

Corbin Souza insures dozens of foothill and mountain residents and has watched the fire insurance rating rise. In many mountain towns, it's at a 10 - meaning it's a major fire hazard and fire departments are more than five miles away.

"The rating is high. We've had a lot of drought, a lot of heat, there's a lot of fuel in the mountains and foothills so those are numbers that keep dropping lower and lower in elevation so it makes it harder and harder to write homes that are just outside of Fresno and Clovis," Souza said.

Don Ulrich lives between Clovis and Prather. He hasn't left his home yet. But on Thursday morning, he called his insurance agent to inquire about what exactly his policy covers.

"That's always on your mind, right? You do your insurance policy but you hope you'll never have to use it. Because that's a possibility I guess, we're just verifying what's covered, inside and outside," Ulrich explained.

He learned the structure and its contents inside are covered, but things like his landscaping and pool are not.

Souza recommends if evacuees have time, they should use their phone to quickly capture a video of their homes to document what they have inside.

"We suggest to all of our clients that they should take a video. A walking video through the house, they take pictures, they keep receipts," he said.
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