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News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: May 3, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones reminds evacuees of Southland wildfires that living expenses may be reimbursed under homeowners' policies
Evacuations are in effect with only 10 percent of the fire contained

CAMARILLO - The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is currently monitoring several wildfires in the state, including the Springs Fire in Ventura County and the Summit Fire in Riverside County. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is reminding fire evacuees that they may be eligible for reimbursement for additional living expenses (ALE) due to mandatory evacuations. 

"Families are already fearful of losing everything they own, they should not worry about paying for hotels, meals and other incidentals," said Commissioner Jones. "Many homeowners' insurance policies cover the additional living expenses incurred by a mandatory evacuation."

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in the Springs Fire which has already scorched 10,000 acres, damaged at least 15 homes, five commercial properties and 15 outbuildings. As many as 4,000 homes remain threatened and many road closures are in place. The Summit Fire is 65 percent contained, destroyed one structure and all evacuations for have been lifted.

Many homeowner insurance policies cover ALE during natural disasters. This permits homeowners 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.

Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company, so be sure to check with your insurer to see what limitations may apply to your coverage.

Commissioner Jones reminds all Californians that CDI is here to help and also urges residents to get prepared for wildfires today by taking three important steps before any disaster.

  1. Make sure your insurance policies are up to date and you have copies in two alternate locations.
  2. Conduct a home inventory that collects photos, has detailed descriptions and is easily updated. 
  3. Have a defensible space of 100 feet around your home.

A free home inventory guide is available on the CDI Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov, or by calling the CDI Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP.

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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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