If your property has been destroyed or damaged in a disaster, it is very important to stay in contact with your insurance company. When you are evacuated, contact your insurance company informing them of your emergency situation, where you will be going, and where you can be reached. After a disaster, contact your insurance company as soon as possible to get your claim started. Document every conversation, including the name of the person helping you, the date, and the specific purpose of your call. During an emergency, most insurance companies will also establish special hotlines for victims to establish their claims. For more information, visit the California Department of Insurance.
- When making your claim, your insurance agent will ask you to provide evidence of the damages. Evidence may include photos or video of your property before and after the disaster, an inventory of the damage, receipts for temporary living costs, and any repair estimates or receipts.
- If you have financial hardship due to a disaster, your insurance company may be able to provide an advance on your settlement for living expenses. Any money given in advance, however, will be deducted from your final settlement.
- If you are a renter with renters' insurance, your insurance will usually cover loss of personal property and loss for not being able to use the property. If you do not have renters' insurance, check with your landlord to see if they have listed you as a named insured. If they listed you, your losses may be covered under their policy.
- Insurance companies are required to acknowledge receipt of claims (usually within 15 days), inform you of their decisions (usually within 40 days), and pay settlements within a reasonable time frame (usually 30 days). If your insurance company fails to do any of these things, you may contact the California Department of Insurance for assistance.
*If you have lost your insurance policy during a disaster, or if it has been destroyed, contact your insurance company or agent. Your insurance company should have a copy on file, and must provide you with a copy.
United Policyholders Non-profit organization offering claim tips and other resources to insurance consumers.
Other Insurance Considerations
Floods are the most common and costly natural hazard in the nation. After a wildfire, the flood risk increases significantly. The time to buy flood insurance is now. Residents and business owners need to protect their homes and assets from the devastating financial losses from a flood, especially after a wildfire, before the next weather event occurs.