Wildfire victims are being reminded that even if their homes aren’t damaged, they may still have coverage.
The thousands of California wildfire victims who have been evacuated from Sonoma, Butte and Napa, may be able to make an evacuation cost claim with their insurers.
Those carrying homeowners or renters insurance policies may be able to make claims to help with the expenses.
Even in cases when properties haven’t been damaged, many renters and homeowners insurance policies cover some or all of the evacuation cost they face when ordered to leave due to the California wildfires. When an area has been ordered, many policies include a component that covers many of the evacuation and relocation expenses, regardless of whether or not the home is ever touched by the blaze. Many policies don’t even have a deductible for these expenses.
This type of coverage for an evacuation cost is called “additional living expense” (ALE)
Homeowners are advised to review their policies or call their insurance agents in order to find out whether or not they have ALE coverage included. Renters with contents insurance are being told to do the exact same thing.
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Additional living expense coverage can include the costs associated with things like food and housing as well as storage, furniture rental, relocation and additional transportation expenses. Moreover, if the power is shut off to your home while a policyholder was evacuated, that portion of the policy may also cover the cost of food that spoiled in the freezer and refrigerator.
According to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, “Homeowners need every resource available to help them deal with the emotional and financial burden caused by wildfires.” He went on to explain that “This is what insurance coverage is meant to do-protect you from the devastating financial effects of wildfires and other disasters.”
That said, many homeowners don’t realize that they may have coverage for several types of evacuation cost that may accumulate as a result of this type of situation. It is common for homeowners insurance customers to believe that they have coverage only if their properties have been damaged by a wildfire. That said, regardless of whether that happens, a mandatory evacuation can mean that they can make an insurance claim. This allows them the ability to know they can afford to live during the emergency and they can place their attention on recovery instead.