Insurance Commissioner Jones Conducts Home Inventory, Reminds Homeowners to Be Prepared Before Disaster Strikes
News: 2011 Press Release
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today reminded all homeowners that they should complete a home inventory and that the potential for wildfire is very high due to the unseasonable amounts of spring rain that the state has received.
"The extended rainy season this spring has created even more growth of brush and recent storms have caused trees to fall and loosen limbs, adding more fuel should a wildfire start," said Commissioner Jones. "Homeowners need to be extra vigilant when evaluating their homes and property. It is imperative that homeowners create defensible space around their property, make an inventory of their possessions, and prepare their families with an evacuation plan should a wildfire strike."
Commissioner Jones was joined by Rancho Bernardo Community Leader, Robin Kaufman, who tragically lost her home in the San Diego County Firestorms of 2007. Ironically, Robin had video-taped the interior and exterior of her home prior to that fire so that she could share it with a friend who lived on the East coast who was unable to travel to California to see it. In doing so, Robin was able to create a video-record of her possessions that she was later able to use when negotiating replacement costs with her insurance company.
"After the fires, my friend still had the video and mailed it back to me as the insurance company did not believe all the upgrades which were added during the remodeling," said Kaufman. "Always take pictures or video of the property and keep it in a bank vault or send to a friend or family member out of town so it does not get destroyed if your property is destroyed."
Losing her home inspired Kaufman to get more involved. After the 2007 firestorm, Robin, who was already actively involved in the Rancho Bernardo community, joined the newly formed Fire Safe Council of Rancho Bernardo. She was already a team leader of the Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT). Additionally, she was the Chair of the Friends of Fire Station 33 renovation council. Being a community volunteer has always been a part of Robin's dedication to her community. She is the assistant director of Ranch Bernardo Neighborhood Watch; Chair of the Rancho Bernardo Community Council Public Safety Committee and was named Honorary Mayor of Rancho Bernardo, just to name a few.
"Robin has done so much to assist her community in recovering from the devastating firestorms of 2007," said Commissioner Jones. "She is truly an asset to the citizens of Rancho Bernardo and I commend her for all of the tireless hours she has spent volunteering to educate, prepare and help protect her neighbors."
Commissioner Jones reminds all homeowners to be prepared in the event of a wildfire by conducting a home inventory and offers the following tips:
- 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.
- Homeowners are encouraged to review their homeowners' insurance policy with their agent to determine if they have sufficient coverage limits for the dwelling, personal property, and any special characteristics, such as antiques, expensive jewelry, and other valuable collections.
- Contact CDI at 800-927-HELP to obtain consumer information guides about additional insurance products, or for any insurance-related questions.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.