31 August 2016

Losses and Lessons: Wildfire consumes ’79 Jeep

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 1979 Jeep CJ-7

WHAT WENT WRONG: Wildfires have wreaked havoc throughout the western United States this summer, consuming everything in their path while firefighters struggle to contain them. Although saving lives is always the No. 1 priority, losing a treasured classic or collector car – particularly one with family history – can be devastating, as the owner of a 1979 Jeep CJ-7 found out. When the wind direction changed and a wildfire headed toward his home, the owner and his family only had time to gather some small personal items before evacuating the area – without the Jeep. Leaving it behind was particularly heart wrenching, since the owner and his father had spent many hours cruising and driving it to local shows, and his dad passed it onto him after he was no longer able to drive it himself.

DAMAGE/LOSS: No one was injured, but the fire destroyed practically everything in the neighborhood, including the owner’s home, garage and his treasured Jeep. Declaring the 4x4 a total loss, Hagerty paid the Guaranteed Value of $10,000, although the classic was clearly priceless to its owner.

LESSON: It’s all about time. When you have it, use it. It’s important to have an escape plan for your family, pets and your most cherished items. Be prepared to move your vehicle before the situation becomes dangerous. Also consider adding Hagerty’s Evacuation Endorsement* to your policy. To help you avoid a loss in “emergency situations” like wildfires, Hagerty will share reasonable expenses equally in order to move covered automobiles to a safer location. (*Approved in all 50 states. Some restrictions apply. For more information, visit www.hagerty.com or call 800-922-4050.) Most importantly, never run into a burning structure to save a vehicle. No matter how valuable or cherished it is, it isn’t worth your life.

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