With displaced residents of the Southern California fires now returning to their neighborhoods, several home and business owners are now finding themselves facing dozens of questions before they rebuild.
To help navigate the insurance recovery process, the Insurance Information Network of California offers the following advice and claims information to those whose property has been damaged or destroyed:
• Call your insurance agent or insurance company and report the damage. Most homeowner policies cover additional living expenses and will advance money if there is a need for temporary shelter, food or clothing.
• If your home or business has been damaged but not destroyed, make temporary repairs where possible to prevent any further damage. Save receipts for supplies and materials purchased as the insurance company will reimburse for any reasonable expenses for these temporary repairs.
• Prepare for the adjuster’s inspection. Take the time to inspect the property in advance and note anything that you would like the adjuster to see. Provide the adjuster with a list of the damaged items, photographs, receipts, bills and any other relevant paperwork. Doing so will help the adjuster correctly determine the value of destroyed property. Information on how to create an inventory and free inventory software is also available at the IINC Web site at www.iinc.org.
• Maintain a recovery diary or log of all phone calls, emails and meetings about the insurance claim.
• Be wary of those seeking your business. Contractors, public adjusters and attorneys may all try to get you to sign on the bottom line. Check licenses of contractors and public adjusters with the State Contractors License Board (www.cslb.ca.gov) and the California Department of Insurance (www.insurance.ca.gov). Be aware that if you sign a contract with an outside claims intermediary, your insurer is precluded from working with you directly. In addition, intermediaries’ fees in most instances are not paid by insurers; they are incurred and paid by policyholders.
To view a copy of the brochure, “Settling Insurance Claims After a Disaster,” visit the IINC Web site at http://www.iinc.org/articles/282/1/Settling-Claims-After-A-Disaster/Page1.html.
The following insurance claims phone numbers have been confirmed by insurers:
21st Century 800-322-8200
AIG Mobile Home Program 866-221-2402
AIG Private Client Group 888-760-9195
Allstate 800-54-STORM (547-8676)
American International Insurance Company of California 888-760-9195
American National Property and Casualty Co. 800-333-2860
Amica Mutual Insurance Co. 800-242-6422
Armed Forces Insurance 800-255-0187
Auto Club of Southern California (Inter-Insurance Exchange) 80-672-5246
Balboa Insurance Group/Balboa Insurance Co./Newport Insurance Co./Meritplan Insurance Co. 888-768-2096
California Casualty 800-800-9410
Century-National Insurance Co. 800-733-1980
Civil Service Employees Insurance Co. 800-282-6848
CNA (877-CNA-ASAP (262-2727)
Countrywide 888-768-2096 general claim; catastrophe-related claim 866-331-4832
Electric Insurance Co. 800-227-2757
Farmers 800-HelpPoint (435-7764)
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. 888-FIRE-HAT (347-3428)
GeoVera Insurance Co. 800-319-6635/GeoVera Specialty Insurance Company 800-631-6478
Horace Mann Insurance Co./Horace Mann Property and Casualty Insurance Co. 877-267-0570 or 800-990-1030
IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co. (Ameriprise) 800-872-5246
Kemper Insurance 888-252-2799
MetLife Auto & Home 800-854-6011
National Interstate Insurance 800-929-0870
Oregon Mutual 800-888-2141
Pacific Property and Casualty Co. 800-333-2860
Pacific Specialty Insurance 800-962-1172
State Farm 800-SFCLAIM (732-5246)
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co. 800-572-5246
Western Mutual company and Residence Mutual Insurance Co. 800-927-2142
Workmen’s Auto Insurance Co. 888-811-4054
For information, visit the IINC Web site at www.iinc.org.
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