News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: May 5, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Urges Californians to Prepare for Wildfires One Year After Jesusita Fire Ravaged Santa Barbara
Marking the one year anniversary of the Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today advised all California homeowners to proactively prepare for fires and other potential disasters by conducting a home inventory and updating their insurance policies.
"One year ago, the devastating Jesusita Fire destroyed eighty homes in the blink of an eye," said Commissioner Poizner. "Today is a difficult reminder that Californians must always be prepared for wildfires. Waiting for a fire to erupt before conducting a home inventory and reviewing your insurance policy means you could get burned twice - first by the fire then by trying to recover your losses."
The Jesusita Fire broke out on May 5, 2009. The blaze burned 8,733 acres, destroying 80 homes and damaging 15. Commissioner Poizner urges any Jesusita Fire survivors to call the Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-927-HELP if they have insurance-related questions or concerns, or if they would like to file a complaint.
Commissioner Poizner urges all homeowners to prepare themselves, and conduct a home inventory to maintain detailed records of their belongings. Poizner offered the following tips for conducting a home inventory:
- Using a household digital camera and a Home Inventory Guide from the California Department of Insurance, catalogue your possessions and document their values. Photographs of household goods are especially helpful when an item is difficult to describe on paper, or if a purchase receipt cannot be obtained.
- Label photographs with information about each item.
- If a video recorder is used, commentary about each item should be included.
- A copy of the inventory and supporting documentation, such as receipts and model numbers, should be stored in a safe place, such as a safe-deposit box, work office, or a relative's house.
- These records should also include financial documents such as insurance policies and mortgage information.
- A free Home Inventory Guide is available at www.insurance.ca.gov.
Contact CDI at 800-927-HELP to obtain consumer information guides about additional insurance products, or for any insurance-related questions.
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.