LA County residents forced to evacuate could tap insurance for cost reimbursement
News: 2019 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Thousands of residents from Los Angeles County ordered to evacuate due to the Easy Fire, Tick Fire, Hill Fire and Getty Fire 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.
“With thousands of Californians’ lives turned upside down because of mandatory evacuations, additional living expense coverage in their insurance policies can help ease the financial and emotional toll,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Evacuees with renters and homeowners insurance should contact their insurance agent or the Department of Insurance for help with transportation, hotel, food or other costs due to the evacuation."
Many homeowners are unaware they may have insurance coverage under their homeowner and renter policies to help them with evacuation and recovery expenses under additional living expense coverage, known as ALE. ALE coverage typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses.
The department is urging evacuees to contact their insurer to verify their ALE coverage provision, limits and learn about requirements to use the coverage. It is critical to keep all receipts and document the date, time and names of any insurance company employees you speak to regarding your coverage and details of the conversation.
Here are some tips for consumers:
- Keep all receipts accrued during the evacuation.
- Policy provisions, including deductibles, vary by company, residents should check with their insurer or agent 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.
- Department staff are joining other agencies at the Tick Fire Local Assistance Center in Santa Clarita today through Monday. Affected residents are urged to visit the center at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, CA 91350 open from 10am to 7pm.
- 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, 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 $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. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.