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News: 2012 Press Release

For Release: August 16, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Reminds Wildfire Evacuees That Insurance May Cover Living Expenses
Basic Necessities May Be Provided by Assisted Living Expenses (ALE)

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today reminded fire evacuees in California that they may be eligible for reimbursement for additional living expenses due to mandatory evacuations. The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is currently monitoring several fires in the state, including the Vallecito Fire in San Diego County and the Buck Fire in Riverside County, which have the most potential for damage and where mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

"Anyone who has been forced to evacuate their home due to the fires in San Diego or Riverside Counties and elsewhere should check their insurance policies," said Commissioner Jones. "Many policies cover additional living expenses people might incur because they've been ordered to evacuate. Those expenses include hotel stays and meals."

Homeowners are covered under what is known as ALE, or additional living expenses. This permits them to maintain their normal standard of living by covering the increased living expenses incurred as a result of damage caused by the fire or a mandatory evacuation. ALE coverage typically includes extra food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage costs, telephone installation and extra transportation expenses to and from school or work.

"Evacuating your home for a wildfire is extremely unnerving," said Commissioner Jones. "But knowing you're adequately covered for those unexpected expenses after such a disaster may lessen the anxiety just a little."

Commissioner Jones reminds all Californians that the department is here to help. He also urges residents to get prepared for wildfires today by making sure their insurance policies are up to date and to conduct a home inventory today. A free guide is available on the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov, or by calling the CDI Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP.

Current California wildfires include:

  •  The Chips Fire in Sacramento County which started on July 29. The fire is approximately 120 miles north of Sacramento in the Plumas National Forest and is 20% contained. It is estimated to be totally contained by August 31. 900 residences are threatened including, four commercial and 36 outbuildings. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered.
  • The Vallecito Lightning Complex Fire in San Diego County which started on August 12. The fire is on the eastern side of San Diego County and is 60% contained. 400 structures are threatened. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered.
  • The Buck Fire in Riverside County which started on August 14. The fire is on Sage Road between Lewis Valley Road and Buck Road in Aguanga and is 60% contained. Four structures have been destroyed and 50 additional structures are threatened. All evacuations have been lifted.
  • The Wye Fire in Lake County which started on August 12. The fire is burning at the Hwy 20 and Hwy 53 intersections, east of Clearlake Oaks and is 80% contained. Two structures and one outbuilding have been destroyed, two structures have been damaged. All evacuations have been lifted.
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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.

If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.

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