Kern County wildfire victims may have insurance coverage for additional living expenses
News: 2016 Press Release
KERN, Calif. — Thousands of Kern County residents ordered to evacuate due to the Erskine Fire may have insurance coverage under their homeowner and renter policies to help them with evacuation and recovery expenses. The rapidly growing fire currently threatening 1,500 homes, has already spread to approximately 19,000 acres and destroyed 100 structures, including 80 residences.
"Displacement due to disaster can burden evacuees financially and emotionally," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "It is important to help residents recover and get their lives back on track. Many evacuees may be unaware if their insurance policy covers additional living expenses associated with mandatory evacuation and recovery. I urge evacuees to contact their insurer for assistance, if needed."
Homeowners and renters may be covered under what is known as ALE, or additional living expense coverage. This permits them to maintain their normal standard of living by covering the increased living expenses incurred as a result of a fire or a mandatory evacuation. ALE coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses.
If your property is not safe for occupancy, keep receipts for all expenses associated with your relocation. Residents should review their policies to see if they have coverage for additional living expenses. Insurance agents can help consumers understand coverage limits and how to get reimbursed as policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company.
The California Department of Insurance is also monitoring the San Gabriel Complex Fire in Los Angeles County and the Border Fire in San Diego County. Fire victims should call the department's Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357 (HELP) for questions about their insurance coverage.
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- The Department of Insurance consumer services team regularly participates in Cal OES established local assistance centers for consumers needing assistance recovering from wildfires.
- 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 to prepare your home 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 website at insurance.ca.gov, or receive a hardcopy by calling the California Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP (4357).
- Don't get burned after a disaster. Tips and tools to help prevent you from getting burned by a scam artist.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 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 $394 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.