With the state's fire season fully underway, the State Insurance Commissioner encourages residents, especially in the wildland urban interface, to check their homeowners policy for coverage.

Spokesman for Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale, Kyle Schmauch, said a careful check of your policy will keep you from being surprised, and perhaps disappointed in your coverage.

"Check your policy to see what's covered and what's not," Schmauch said. "Most standard homeowner policies do cover wildfires, but it's always good to read through your policy so that you know for sure. This is especially true if you have outbuildings or other additional structures beyond just your home."

Schmauch also said to pay careful attention to the part of your policy that covers household possessions.

"It's important to make an inventory of all your possessions, and put it into a fireproof safe or upload it in the cloud for safekeeping," he said. " And, if the worst happens and your house is damaged or destroyed, take photos of the damage for your insurance agent so your possessions can be replaced or restored."

Schmauch said fire insurance is much like flood insurance, in that you cannot just call the insurance company when the fire is approaching your home.

"You can't wait until the fire is racing down the mountainside and then try to buy insurance at that point," he said. "As with flood insurance or any other natural disaster, you must be covered ahead of time."

Anyone who is having problems with their home insurance can contact the State Insurance Commissioners Office at 406-444-2040, or visit the commissioner's website.

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