Insurers That Have Agreed to Expedite Insurance Claims and What This Means
On October 14th, 2017, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued a notice to state insurers asking them to expedite claims from fire victims. The 21 wildfires that tore through Wine Country beginning on October 8th have displaced thousands of Californians from their homes. More than 8,700 homes, businesses, and other structures have sustained major damage or total destruction in the fires. Thankfully, many insurers have agreed to Jones’ request and are now making fire-related claims top priority.
Which Insurers Will Expedite Claims?
On October 18th, Gov. Jerry Brown helped the Insurance Commissioner’s efforts by issuing an official executive order with the goal of expediting recovery. The executive order has provisions that will help displaced residents who need housing during rebuilding, including suspensions on many building requirements. In light of the declaration for a state of emergency in several counties, and President Trump signing a disaster declaration, some insurance companies have agreed to expedite claims in the hopes of facilitating a speedier recovery for victims. The following insurers are currently expediting fire-related claims in California:
- Allstate Insurance Company
- CSE Insurance
- Golden Bear Insurance
- State Farm Insurance
- Wawanesa General Insurance
Insurance companies representing more than 90% of fire-related claims have agreed to the expedited claims process. Dave Jones’ request stated that victims need all the help insurance companies can provide. He asked California insurers to “adopt expedited claims handling procedures to get help to policyholders more quickly.” He thanked insurers who immediately complied with the request (listed above) and encourages others to do the same so that “victims may begin to put their lives back together.” To find out if your insurance company will expedite your wildfire-related claim, call your agent and ask.
What to Expect from Your Insurance Provider
If your provider is on the list of those who have agreed to the new expedited claims procedure, expect to go through the insurance investigation and claims procedures faster than in a typical claim. You may receive an advanced payment for up to four months of ALE (additional living expenses) costs, including the costs of housing, food, and other necessities during evacuation and while you wait for home repairs. You may also receive an advance on 25% of your policy limit for personal property losses and expedited debris removal.
The expedited claims handling procedure also has provisions in which insurers will give faster payments for damaged or destroyed vehicles. Insurers who agree to the expedited process will offer at least a 30-day extension for insurance payments to policyholders who cannot have mail forwarded or who lose renewal notices. Insurers may use out-of-state claims adjusters while California is in a state of emergency for faster claims processes.
You can help make your insurance claims process as efficient and successful as possible by doing a few things on your end. First, call your insurance agent to report damage as soon as possible. If you can return to your property, do so and take photos and/or video of your home. Write down a detailed list of all the property you lost in the fire. Keep all receipts and documents relating to money you spend during displacement. Cooperate with the requests of your insurance agent. Contact an attorney with experience handling fire insurance claims for more help.