Southern California wildfire victims could tap insurance for evacuation cost reimbursement
News: 2017 Press Release
Many homeowners are unaware that they may have insurance coverage under their homeowner and renter policies to help them with evacuation and recovery expenses under additional living expense coverage, or ALE, allowing consumers to focus their attention on recovery. ALE coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses.
"It is imperative residents are aware of every resource available to them to recover from the emotional and financial burden caused by wildfires and to get their lives back on track," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Insurance coverage is meant to protect consumers from the devastating financial effects of wildfires and other disasters. I encourage evacuees to contact their insurance agent or the Department of Insurance for assistance."
Here are some tips for consumers:
- Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company, residents should check with their insurer as soon as possible to confirm coverage, limits, and any other limitations and documentation requirements. Most renters' policies also typically include ALE coverage.
- Consumer should make sure any insurance agent or public adjuster offering their services has a valid license by checking online with the Department of Insurance.
- Public adjusters cannot solicit business for seven calendar days after the disaster.
- 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.
- Additional resources and information for consumers on wildfires 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 (4357).
- If you have any questions or need assistance, the California Department of Insurance is here to help. Please call: 1-800-927-4357 or visit www.insurance.ca.gov.
- Additional contact information:
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.