News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: September 1, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Urges Residents in Fire Zones to Be Ready for Evacuation At Any Moment, Offers Tips to Evacuees
With the onslaught of devastating wildfires throughout the state, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today urged California residents in fire zones to be ready to evacuate their homes at any instant. He offered last-minute preparedness tips for families forced to leave their homes and belongings behind.
"Out-of-control wildfires from Auburn to Los Angeles have forced thousands of homeowners throughout the state to flee from their homes, leaving everything behind as they race to escape the flames," said Commissioner Poizner. "I always urge homeowners to keep detailed inventories of their assets in case emergency strikes, but even if you are not fully prepared, there are last minute steps you can take to help the recovery process if, heaven forbid, your home is lost."
Residents in areas around the fires should take a few steps immediately, before evacuations are ordered, to help prepare for the possibility of evacuation.
- Take an inventory of your valuables and belongings. Take photographs or a video of each room. This documentation will provide your insurance company with proof of your belongings and help to process claims more quickly.
- Remember to include in your home inventory those items you rarely use (e.g., holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.).
- Store digital pictures in your e-mail or on a website for easy retrieval.
- Keep a readily available list of 24-hour contact information for each of your insurance providers.
A free home inventory guide is available on the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov, or by calling the CDI Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP.
If residents are evacuated from their homes, they should be sure to have important items and documents ready, if time allows. Below are some suggested items that may be useful to take in the event of an evacuation.
- Birth certificates
- Computer backup disks
- Drivers' licenses
- House deed
- Insurance papers, health and vehicle insurance cards
- Legal documents
- Marriage license
- Tax papers
- Money (cash, check books, credit cards)
- Prescription glasses
- Pet food, medication and supplies
- Cell phones and chargers
If any consumers have questions or concerns about insurance, they should call the Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP, or visit www.insurance.ca.gov.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.