Living expense reimbursement may help Oakhurst wildfire victims recover
News: 2014 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Fire victims in the Oakhurst area where a fast-moving wildfire has already destroyed 33 homes and businesses and forced many residents in Bass Lake Heights to evacuate may have insurance benefits to help them with the additional expenses associated with evacuation and recovery.
"Helping residents recover and get their lives back on track is so important after a disaster," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Homeowners should know their insurance policy may cover additional living expenses associated with mandatory evacuation and recovery and should contact their insurer for assistance."
Many homeowner insurance policies cover additional living expenses during natural disasters. This permits homeowners to maintain their standard of living by covering increased living expenses incurred as a result of damage caused by the fire or mandatory evacuation. The coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses. Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company. Consumers should check with their insurer regarding any limitations that may apply to the coverage.
Commissioner Jones also reminds consumers that in the wake of a natural disaster, such as fire, scammers and unscrupulous public adjuster, vendors and contractors prey on vulnerable disaster victims. "Unfortunately, disasters bring out the worst in some people," said Jones. "It is a felony for a public adjuster to solicit business from a homeowner within seven days of a declared disaster or event where 25 or more homes are damaged and destroyed. I have a skilled enforcement team focused on tracking down and arresting rip-off artists that take advantage of homeowners that have already suffered so much."
If residents suspect they have been approached or targeted by a scam artist or need assistance with their insurance claim, contact the department's consumer services team toll-free at 800-927-4357.
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- The Department of Insurance consumer services team fields more than 170,000 calls annually from consumers needing assistance with claims and coverage denials. The team has succeeded in recovering tens of millions for consumers.
- Don't forget copies of insurance policies, important papers and a photo or video inventory of your possessions. An inventory can be completed quickly and easily on your smart phone and safely stored in the Cloud.
- Find quick and easy tips for home hardening to help keep your home from becoming fuel for a wildfire.
- Additional tips and information for consumers about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire are available from the California Department of Insurance. Download a free home inventory guide from the department Web site at http://www.insurance.ca.gov, or receive a hardcopy by calling the California Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP (800-927-4357).
- Photos of CDI's outreach services is now available.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 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 website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.