Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen is urging Montanans who live in areas at risk of wildfire to keep an inventory of their belongings – and be able to retrieve it even if their home is damaged.

Spokeswoman Jennifer McKee said on Thursday that oftentimes wildfire preparation neglects the most important item of all, effective home insurance.

"Mostly people talk about defensible space when it comes to protecting their homes from wildfire, but for people who have really been through a fire, what quickly becomes a centerpiece of their lives is their insurance," McKee said. "We wanted to get some information out a little ahead of fire season so that you could prove to your insurance company what you lost, in the unfortunate event that you may lose everything."

McKee said the easiest way to prepare is to assemble an inventory of possessions inside the home.

"There's a free checklist on our website, or you can download an app from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners," McKee said. "This allows you to take pictures of your possessions, which are then stored up in the computer cloud. That way, if you were evacuated and couldn't get back to your home, you would still have all of that information in a place where they couldn't be destroyed."

Anyone who has gone through the experience of losing their home in a wildfire and has had trouble dealing with their insurance company is encouraged to call Commissioner Lindeen's office at 1-800-332-6148.

Insurance Commissioner Spokesperson Jennifer McKee