LOS ANGELES, July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sizzling temperatures mixed with drought conditions and dry winds has fueled a massive wildfire that has scorched more than 33,000 acres north of Los Angeles. The fire has destroyed 18 homes and is only minimally contained. Authorities have been issuing evacuation notices to thousands of residents and Mercury Insurance (MCY) is ready to assist homeowner policyholders who have had to leave their homes or suffered losses.
Mercury representatives are available to help with claims, arrange for temporary housing and provide assistance with living expenses if Mercury customers suffer a covered loss or were forced to evacuate.
"This firestorm is extremely dangerous and we urge residents to take the necessary precautions for their families, pets and property," said Mercury's Chief Claims Officer Randy Petro. "Mercury is ready to help round the clock and customers should call the Mercury Claims Hotline at (800) 503-3724 to file claims ASAP."
Californians can help spread this message by following @MercuryIns on Twitter and ReTweeting: "Mercury policyholders impacted by the #SandFire call (800) 503-3724 to file a claim ASAP."
Petro advises policyholders to follow a few simple procedures to help the claims process run smoothly.
When filing a claim
Contact Mercury immediately to report your loss.
Be prepared to provide your policy number.
Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.
Steps after filing a claim
Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
Offer photos or videos of your home and possessions to your adjuster, if these are available.
Keep copies of communications between you and your adjuster.
Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home, and provide copies to your adjuster.
Petro added the following suggestions for those who have to evacuate their homes.
Preparing to leave your home
Create an emergency plan and review with all family members so you are prepared if you need to evacuate your home. This plan should include items you will need to bring with you, a meeting place, and a list of who is responsible for specific tasks. It should also include a plan for your pets to ensure they are safe and happy and have everything they will need.
Stay in touch with local law enforcement to get an idea of when evacuations might happen and if any roads will be closed because of the fire.
Follow the evacuation routes posted by local law enforcement.
Don't wait until the last minute to get to safety. When authorities tell you to evacuate it's time to leave…immediately.
Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas, as gas stations might be busy or closed along the evacuation route. If you see a fire burning close to your home, fill up the gas tank early so you can get out quickly.
Gather prized and irreplaceable possessions, medications and important documents, like birth certificates, passports, bank account information, medical documents and insurance policies. Make sure these are boxed and near the door so they can be easily loaded into your vehicle at a moment's notice.
Pack clothes, phone chargers, and comfort items, like your child's favorite stuffed animal. Ask local law enforcement if they have an estimated amount of time that you'll need to be away from your home to determine how many items to bring.
Secure your home by locking doors and windows. Turn off and unplug electrical devices except your refrigerator and freezer, unless instructed to do so by the fire department. Turn off the gas and water at the mains prior to leaving. Turning off the water will help to maintain water pressure for firefighters battling the blaze.
Let friends and family members not staying with you know where you're going and how to reach you. To ensure privacy and to protect your home from burglars while you are gone, it's best to do this through a phone call, text message or email, not social media.
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCE Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook.com/MercuryInsurance and follow the company on Twitter.