Strategic Planning is Key to Wildfire Recovery

August 25, 2004

As the anniversary of the 2003 wildfires approaches, fire survivors may face deadlines for replacing possessions and for the additional living expenses provided by their home insurance coverage. A careful review of their policy will help keep their recovery on track.

Additional living expense coverage, commonly known as ALE, provides immediate financial relief for hotel rooms, food, clothing and medical needs to help families move out of evacuation centers and into long-term lodging. Contents coverage provides funds to replace furniture, appliances and other household items.

“As fire survivors re-build, they should consult their insurance company or agent to confirm any approaching deadlines for property replacement or additional living expense coverage,” said Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California. “Coverage deadlines can vary from company-to-company, and may have specific requirements that merit close attention.”

Homeowner insurance contracts typically outline how much time policyholders have to replace damaged or destroyed property. If policyholders have replacement cost insurance, they may receive advance payments for the depreciated value for furniture, televisions, clothing and other household items. Once receipts for replacement items have been provided to the insurer, the policyholder may receive additional funds to cover the expense.

Fire survivors who are still living in temporary housing should review their insurance contracts with their agent to confirm how long ALE coverage is available to them. Knowing these deadlines in advance and planning rebuilding around them will help keep the fire recovery process on track.

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