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CA Department of Insurance

Wildfire victims could tap insurance for evacuation cost reimbursement

News: 2017 Press Release

For Release: October 9, 2017
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Wildfire victims could tap insurance for evacuation cost reimbursement
Insurance may help evacuated residents even if homes not damaged
NAPA/SANTA ROSA/BUTTE, Calif. – Thousands of residents from Butte, Sonoma, and Napa counties ordered to evacuate may have homeowner or renter insurance coverage to help with evacuation and relocation costs, even if their homes are not damaged or destroyed, and in many cases no deductible is required.

Known as additional living expense (ALE) the coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses. If power is cut to their home, ALE will reimburse residents for the cost of food lost in refrigerators and freezers.

"Homeowners need every resource available to help them deal with the emotional and financial burden caused by wildfires," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This is what insurance coverage is meant to do—protect you from the devastating financial effects of wildfires and other disasters."

Many homeowners are unaware that their insurance policies may cover additional living expenses incurred as a result of damage caused by fire or mandatory evacuation, allowing consumers to focus their attention on recovery.

Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company, so consumers should check with their insurer as soon as possible to confirm coverage, limits, and any other limitations and documentation requirements.

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Media Notes:

  • 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 Web site at, or receive a hardcopy by calling the California Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP (4357).   

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 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.

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