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Time running out to update insurance coverage ahead of wildfire season

PHOENIX -- Thousands of people in the Valley own summer homes in the high country and property insurers are telling people to update their coverage as soon as possible.

John Kennedy with Allstate said homeowners need to cover the current costs of rebuilding. Concrete, wood and other building materials get more expensive with each passing year, and he urged residents to meet with their insurance agent soon.

"Most property reviews take about 5 to 10 minutes, if they're done properly," Kennedy said. "People get caught up in the mindset that it's never going to happen to (them). If you live in a wooded area, you need to take preventative measures."

Nicole Ganley with Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said homeowners can take steps to protect their homes before the sparks fly.

"Arizona has very competitive homeowners insurance rates," she said. "For about $60 a month, you can cover that home with insurance.

She also advised homeowners to make cosmetic changes to their property.

"Clear debris around the home -- about 100 feet of defensible space," Ganley said. "Trim trees and get stacked wood away from the home."

Ganley said renters should also prepare by considering renters insurance and also doing home inventories.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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