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News: 2011 Press Release
For Release: December 2, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Responding to Current California Windstorms, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Urges Residents to Be Aware of What Their Insurance Policy Covers
Offers Insurance Information on Fallen Trees, Damaged Cars and other Debris
As heavy winds blow across California, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today advised all Californians to be wary of weather-related dangers and urged homeowners to conduct a home inventory as soon as possible to ensure that their homes and possessions are properly covered.
Commissioner Jones also urged consumers to review their insurance coverage on a regular basis including supplemental insurance policies. "While wind damage is covered under a homeowner's policy, consumers must be aware that policies read differently so you need to be familiar with the specific language in your individual policy," said Commissioner Jones. "There can be some exceptions to standard insurance policies that homeowners should be aware of."
Fallen trees and flying debris are common occurrences when there are heavy winds like the ones whipping through California. It is common for trees to uproot and fall during high winds. The homeowner's policy usually covers the cost of tree removal but is often subject to sublimits - such as $500 per tree and perhaps a maximum limit for all trees removed of $1,000. Again, check the language in your policy for the coverage that applies. If a covered loss leaves debris that must be removed, there may be coverage for the cost of removing the debris. If your car is hit by a tree, damage is covered by your auto policy's "physical damage" coverage provided that you have it.
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind
- A complete household inventory list will provide a permanent record of the home's contents and value, serial numbers listed for electronic items and appliances;
- After a loss, make temporary repairs to prevent further damage;
- After you suffer a loss, you should immediately report the damage to your insurance company agent or representative to start the claims process.
Commissioner Jones urges consumers to contact the Department of Insurance if they have questions or concerns. If you make a claim to your insurer and it is rejected or you have any questions, call the Department's toll-free hotline - 800-927-HELP (4357) - which is staffed by experienced professionals to handle a variety of insurance issues and complaints, or go to the web site at www.insurance.ca.gov.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 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. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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