Dos and Don’ts When
Filing a California Fire Insurance Claim
Before talking to any insurance company investigators or representatives about your Homeowners Insurance or Auto Insurance Fire Damage Claim, read these important tips from InsuranceConsumers.com
– put together copies of your homeowners, auto and business policies. put
– look up your insurance coverage limits and deductibles for dwelling protection, additional living expense, personal property coverage and special endorsements such as jewelry and art. these can be found on the declarations page of your policy.
– check to see whether you have a so-called replacement guarantee and code up grade coverage.
– prepare a room by room inventory of all of the personal property you have lost, along with an itemization of what it will cost to replace each such item. note the difference between replacement value and depreciated value.
– locate and price substitute living accommodations based on the size, quality and needs of your family. note that you are entitled, subject to the limits of your policy, to rent “like kind and quality” accommodations.
– visit insuranceconsumers.com to review information about filing a homeowners insurance claim. pay particular attention to applicable frequently asked questions and to the article entitled “top ten insurance warnings.”
– give any written, verbal or recorded statement to anyone. – do not sign any documents releasing your insurer from it’s duties under your policy in order to receive partial or advanced payments.
– agree to having an insurance company “expert” or computer software program determine the replacement cost value of rebuilding your dwelling or the value of any personal property lost in the fire.
– as so many victims of other natural disasters have done – sign documents agreeing to accept low ball settlement offers for a fraction of what it will actually take to make you whole.
Understand your rights. If an insurer evaluates your claim unfairly arguing that it will be expensive and time consuming for you to contest its position, you should realize that in california such tactics can backfire exposing the insurance company to very substantial additional damages.
Always take notes of conversations with insurance representatives, including the names and contact information of anyone you talk to.