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Impacted by the California Wildfires? What You Need to Know

by Agnieszka Fratczak,  Oct 7 2020

At Gabi, our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the recent California and West Coast fires. Because we are a team of insurance experts, we wanted to share some wisdom and advice (with regards to insurance) for those impacted by the fires. Hopefully, this post will alleviate some of your worries so that you can focus on the important things.

Please note that the coverage mentioned below will not apply to every policy but they are typical for most policies. You may need to consult your agent or a company for a claims investigation and more details.

Auto and Home

  • Keep ALL receipts for fees incurred from being displaced (emergency items purchased, hotels, restaurants, etc.); these expenses will be reimbursed to you. It is known as “Coverage D,” a category that covers “loss of use.”
  • Any damage caused to your car from the fire is covered under comprehensive coverage but you must pay your comprehensive deductible. Comprehensive claims do not count against you and will not cause your insurance rate to increase.
  • If you are a condo unit owner, your policy pays for contents “studs in.” This includes doors, countertops, cabinetry, and of course all of your personal property. Your condo association policy will cover the building itself.
  • Your home is covered under your homeowners insurance. Your policy will pay out what’s known as “Coverage A,” dwelling, or replacement cost, to rebuild your home. Don’t worry if your replacement cost is less than the market value of your home. Remember, you still own the plot of land. Therefore, the replacement cost will be less than the market value.
  • Furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. are covered under Coverage C which protects personal property. List all of the items that you owned and their approximate replacement cost value to make the claim process quicker. If you have any photos of the interior of your home prior to the loss/showing your personal property, they will be helpful in the claims process as well.
  • All home coverage is subject to your deductible. Please note that you only have to pay that deductible once. For example, if you’re claiming both Coverage A and C, you only pay your deductible amount once. The deductible is “per occurrence” and the fire counts as one occurrence. 

Renters and Landlord

  • If you are a renter and have renters insurance, it will pay out personal property coverage to replace the contents of your home. It is subject to your deductible. Also, remember to create a list of items you owned and their approximate replacement cost.
  • If you are a landlord, your policy will pay to replace the dwelling and most appliances. Also, you have loss of rents coverage as the home is being rebuilt.

Please feel free to comment on this post with questions, regardless of whether or not you’re a Gabi customer. We’ll be happy to help!

What’s covered by your homeowners policy?

Homeowners policy includes various types of coverages, so let’s take a look at each of them:

  • Structural coverage will cover repairing or rebuilding your property if it was impacted by disasters included in your policy (like hurricane, lightning). Damage caused by fire is usually covered by a standard homeowners policy but some insurance companies offer separate fire insurance. 

Also, standard policies don’t provide coverage for damage caused by flood, earthquake, or routine wear and tear. If your property is located in a flood zone or an area prone to other disasters, you may need to buy additional coverage.

  • Contents coverage – your home policy protects your personal belongings (clothing, furniture, etc.) from theft or damage caused by disasters included in your policy. Your personal items are covered by your homeowners policy even if they are stolen or damaged on vacation or in a hotel room.

Read more about coverage provided by your homeowners insurance.

Where to get help:

Let us know if there are any funds or causes that you are actively involved in – we’d love to help! Also, please share this post with anyone who may have been impacted by California wildfires in case they need more information or support. 

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Editorial content on Gabi.com is not written by a licensed insurance agent. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice.

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