What You Need to Know About Insurance Coverage If Your Home Is Destroyed by a Bush Fire

Hundreds of thousands of people could face property damage in Southern California due to a series of wildfires in the region. If you are one of them, here are some initial steps to take to get started with your recovery.

After making sure your family and pets are safe, if you are a homeowner, contact your insurance company. According to the United Policyholder, a consumer protection group, your insurance company must provide you with a place to live. Once you’re in the right place, here’s what the group recommends :

  • When speaking with your insurer, write down who you spoke to, the number you called, the date and time, and what was said.
  • Ask for an up-to-date copy of your insurance policy.
  • Ask for a cash advance to cover living expenses and replacement of personal belongings.
  • Save all receipts for the duration of your displacement! This includes bills for hotel accommodation, pets, and clothing.
  • Take pictures of your property before cleaning is done.
  • Register with a Red Cross curator who can recommend resources for you.
  • If federal disaster relief becomes available, register with FEMA.

The United Policyholder is also hosting information sessions this month for those affected by the Southern California and North Bay fires earlier this year.

If you are renting a damaged apartment, you need to check the rental agreement.

Other resources and tips

Experts recommend nudging your insurance company to increase revenue. Check your policy for the maximum amount you are eligible for and make a detailed list of all of your belongings. If you don’t have receipts from everything you’ve ever bought (why?), You can try to recreate them using store records and credit card statements.

Morrison & Foester , a law firm with several offices in California, has compiled a guide full of useful information about the wildfires in Northern California. For example, the firm advises people to keep paying off mortgages regardless of damage if you haven’t gotten an abstinence agreement from the lender, but you can also call your service staff to see if they can offer any mortgage assistance.


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