Wildfire Damage Claims
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WILDFIRE DAMAGE CLAIMS

Wildfires can result in a great deal of smoke and soot damage to association common areas. Such claims are typically covered by an association's insurance policy. Boards should consider engaging professionals to determine the full scope and value of the damage and present a claim to the HOA insurance carrier.

I. Visible Damage

A. Stucco. Depending on the extent of smoke and the texture of the stucco, the discoloration is usually addressed by one of three different methods including power wash, painting of the stucco or even color coating the stucco. Given the age of the stucco, some stucco surfaces are so fragile that power washing will not be an acceptable option.

B. Windows. Windows present another area of potential damage that can be costly to repair. Smoke and soot particles that are trapped in window tracks will often require a complete lubrication of the mechanisms throughout the entire complex.

C. Rain Gutters. Soot and ash from wildfires can clog rain gutters. The gutters can usually be cleaned without much expense. However, soot and ash can cause discoloration. If the gutters require painting or replacement, the process may require the painting of all fascia boards and trim around the gutters.

D. Pool. If the HOA has a pool and a Jacuzzi, pool equipment and filters must be inspected and cleaned. The more serious concern is the potential damage to plaster in the pool as well as grout around pool and deck tiles. If the plaster cannot be properly cleaned with an acid wash, it may require the replastering of the pool and regrouting of the tiles.

II. Hidden Damage

Sometimes smoke damage is not readily visible.

A. Insulation. Often carbon, ash, and soot enter the attic and get trapped in the insulation. It is almost impossible to clean the insulation. If so, it may need to be replaced.

B. Air Conditioning System, Vents and Air Ducts. Air conditioning and heating systems should be inspected. Normally, everything can be cleaned. However, older ducts and vents may need replacement. Depending on the age of the building, various other issues arise including access to the ducts, potential asbestos with the ducts, etc.

C. Exterior Drains. Ash and soot that settles on the ground is usually washed off of walkways and driveways into drains. This can cause excess deposits in the drains that impede drainage during heavy rains. It is important to have the drains fully cleared of the ash and soot deposits to prevent flooding at a later point in time.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC