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News: 2012 Press Release

For Release: September 12, 2012
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Warns Vista And San Diego-Area Homeowners To Be Prepared For Wildfires
Reminds Residents of New Regulations to Aid in Recovery and Rebuilding Effort - Urges Homeowners to Conduct Home Inventory

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today joined the Vista Fire Department and the Vista Fire Protection District to encourage Vista and all San Diego-area homeowners to prepare their assets for the possibility of a disaster. Commissioner Jones advised all local homeowners to proactively prepare for wildfires and other potential disasters by conducting a home inventory and updating their insurance policies.

"The threat of wildfires is all too real for Vista and San Diego-area residents," said Commissioner Jones. "This community is fully aware that wildfires can strike at moment's notice, destroy homes, and forever change lives. I want to urge all homeowners to prepare themselves today for potential wildfires. Waiting for a fire to erupt before conducting a home inventory and reviewing your insurance policy could result in an uphill battle when you try to replace belongings and rebuild property."

After the devastating wildfires of 2007, the California Department of Insurance helped to recover more $39 million from insurers. Of that amount, more than $30 million went to residents in the San Diego community.

Last year, Commissioner Jones visited the San Diego community to announce new regulations to help wildfire survivors recover after disaster strikes. The new regulations:

  • Enhance the standards and training for estimating the replacement value on homes lost in wildfire or other disasters;
  • Create a more consistent and comprehensive replacement cost calculation so consumers aren't left underinsured;
  • Sets up training standards for agents, brokers and real estate appraisers;
  • Requires application of certain standards when estimating the cost of replacing a home and includes record-keeping requirements.

"These regulations will ensure that homeowners are provided with a complete and comprehensive replacement cost estimate by their insurance company, agent, or broker," Jones said. "This upfront information will help protect homeowners from losses as a result of a catastrophic event and assist them in making a more informed decision when deciding on how much coverage they need to protect their assets."

Commissioner Jones also 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.
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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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