California Says Fire Evacuees May Be Eligible for Reimbursement from Insurer

California residents who have been ordered to evacuate due to the hundreds of wildfires burning across the state my be able to recoup their evacuation costs from their insurance company, the California Department of Insurance says.

Thousands of California residents have been ordered to evacuate due to wildfires in recent days. They may have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance coverage to help with evacuation and relocation costs, even if their homes are not damaged or destroyed, according to the CDI.

“With more than 367 wildfires sweeping the state, I want evacuees to know additional living expense coverage can be available to help ease the financial burden of mandatory evacuations,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a media release. “Residents who have been evacuated should contact their insurance agent or the Department of Insurance to find out what their renter’s or homeowners’ policy covers and other resources that may be available to them while the mandatory evacuation orders are in place.”

Many homeowners are unaware that they may have coverage under their homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies to help them with evacuation and recovery expenses. Additional living expense coverage, known as ALE, typically includes food and housing costs, furniture rental, relocation and storage, and extra transportation expenses.

Lara is urging evacuees to contact their insurance company to verify their ALE coverage provision and limits and learn about requirements to use the coverage. It is critical to keep all receipts and document the date, time, and names of any insurance company employees spoken to regarding coverage and details of the conversation, the department said.

Lara also is looking at other options to assist wildfire survivors and evacuees, including his sponsorship this year of Senate Bill 872 authored by Sen. Bill Dodd, which expands the scope of ALE coverage in homeowners’ insurance policies after a declared wildfire emergency, clarifies policyholder rights if the policyholder decides to relocate rather than rebuild the destroyed home, and adopts other meaningful consumer protections to help ease the burden for homeowners and renters as they rebuild their homes and lives after a major catastrophic event.

Source: CDI