It has been a historic 2018 wildfire season for virtually all of California in all the worst ways possible. CalFire has spent more $3.8 billion fighting fires in the past three years, an amount that is more than the state agency charged with fighting wildfires in California had spent in the previous 30 years before according to a story from The Economist. In addition, the worst wildfire in the state’s history was just declared contained in northern California around the town of Paradise. 2018’s Camp Fire killed 84 people, burned an area the size of Chicago, and destroyed more than 14,000 homes in and around Paradise according to CNN. Meanwhile, to the south, more than 100,000 acres were burned and 3 killed in the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Homeowners all over California are currently dealing with wildfire-related damage to their homes and property. Although for many, the immediate danger from the wildfires is over, the most difficult phase of recovery has just begun-rebuilding.
Although most homeowner’s insurance policies cover damage caused by wildfires, the process of determining your exact damages and submitting a claim to your insurance company is fraught with pitfalls for the inexperienced or unwary. Having an experienced property damage attorney on your side is therefore essential if your home has suffered damage from a wildfire. Having an experienced property damage attorney to assist will ensure that you recover the maximum amount on your insurance claim and also will ensure you get paid quickly. Some insurers will only take your claim seriously if you have an attorney negotiating on your behalf. At JT Legal Group, our experienced California property damage attorneys have handled thousands of property damage claims from wildfires. We have negotiated favorable settlements for our clients with every major property insurer that writes policies in California.
With so many wildfires having burned through the state, homeowner’s insurers are receiving large numbers of claims relating to wildfire damage from California’s past two wildfire seasons. According to a New York Times report, there are more than $12.6 billion in insurance claims currently pending from the 2017 wildfire season alone. Some property insurers that do business in California are refusing to renew policies issued to homeowners in the state as a result of the spate of wildfires to strike California in the past two years in an attempt to limit their losses going forward.
Standard home insurance policies sold by the property and casualty insurers that are licensed to sell homeowner’s insurance in California cover damage caused by fire, lightning, smoke, vandalism, theft, and other perils. The coverage typically includes the building itself, your property within the building, and can cover all or a certain portion of the additional living expenses you may incur if you need to move elsewhere while repairs to your home are completed. However, homeowner’s insurance often may not cover (either in part or in full) is the loss of use of the home while repairs are being made. As chronicled in a recent story from Forbes, relying on homeowner’s insurance after a natural disaster like the recent California wildfires can lead to less than full coverage for wildfire-related damage if, like many homeowners, the person did not elect the full scope of loss of use coverage available when initially purchasing the policy. This is just one example of the damages that may not be covered as a result of a wildfire, but only an experienced California property damage attorney will be able to review your policy carefully and tell you exactly what is covered under your particular policy.
One of the first things to understand when making an insurance claim is that your financial interests and those of the insurer are in conflict. This is particularly true during a time period like the present when insurers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of claims they are receiving. You want to be made whole for your losses suffered as a result of a wildfire, while the insurer wants to pay either nothing or as little as possible. Our staff members know specific individuals at each insurer who we regularly speak with and who can assist in troubleshooting any problems which might arise for our clients during the claims process. Therefore, it is important to have a trusted advocate for your interests with the insurance company if your home has been damaged or destroyed in a California wildfire.
If you are a California homeowner or property owner who has suffered property damage or other losses as a result of any of the state’s historic wildfires in the past several years, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced California property damage attorney as soon as possible to assist you every step in the way in what can be a long, burdensome and time consuming process. We can help you by assisting in gathering the required paperwork, monitoring the status of your claim with your insurer and negotiating with the claims adjuster working on your claim to obtain as favorable a resolution as possible. We understand that you may have many questions regarding damage caused by wildfire, what damage is and is not covered by homeowner’s insurance, and the insurance claim process, so our team provides you with a free consultation to go over all your options. We have helped thousands of homeowners with their insurance claims as a result of wildfires. If your property has been damaged in a California wildfire, contact our firm immediately.
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