Frequently Asked Questions for Homeowners and Businesses After a California Fire

When people suddenly lose their homes and commercial business locations in a California wildfire, the shock of the situation can leave them overwhelmed. Below are answers to some common Camp Fire FAQs homeowners and business owners ask after falling victim to a fire.

I lost my home/business, what’s the first step?

First, call your homeowner’s insurance and file a claim. Request for a declarations page, so you understand your policy limits and your coverage. Once you receive that page, also ensure the square footage on dwellings and structures is accurate. Oftentimes, clients find that their insurance agent got the square footage wrong and they are severely underinsured.

How do I pay for a rental home?

You will have Alternate Living Expenses (ALE) coverage in your homeowner’s insurance.  This coverage provides for alternate living expenses, including a home rental, for two years.

Who pays to remove all the debris on my property?

Homeowner’s insurance will pay for some debris removal costs. However, the policy oftentimes does not cover all the costs.  Government assistant programs, like FEMA, will help pay for some of the costs.

I have insurance, so why do I need an attorney?

Most people are underinsured in that their policy limits do not cover all losses. After a disaster like the 2018 Camp Fire, the cost of labor and materials increases as well. Furthermore, homeowner’s insurance does not fully pay for landscape and tree losses, and not every structure is covered. Some structures are excluded under the policy altogether, such as the rental of a second home on the property. In third-party cases, an experienced attorney will file a claim for the full replacement cost for real and personal property – which will exceed your insurance policy limits.

I still don’t have enough money to rebuild my home after receiving insurance policy limits; what resources are available for me?

For additional assistance, there are government assistant programs available to many. Individuals with damaged business property may also be able to file for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

Need more help?

We’re here to provide resources and information during this difficult time. If your home or property was damaged or destroyed in the 2018 California Camp Fire, we can point you in the direction of the information you need to get on your feet again. We welcome you to call (530) 755-7810 with any questions. There is no obligation when you call.

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