American Property Casualty Insurance Association
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Nicole Mahrt Ganley






September 17, 2014

California Wildfires: ACIC Urges Evacuees and Homeowners to Contact their Insurers

SACRAMENTO – Several major wildfires are raging throughout California resulting in major evacuations and property losses. The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is urging residents near the fast moving King Fire to listen to emergency officials and evacuate if given the order. After homeowners have followed evacuation orders they should immediately contact their insurer to begin the claims process.  Over 1,600 properties remain threatened by the King Fire.  

“Once evacuated to a safe place the next step is to inform your insurer you’ve been asked to evacuate your home,” said Mark Sektnan, ACIC president. “Generally, homeowners and auto insurance policies will cover property lost or damaged due to a wildfire, but it’s important to make that initial contact with your insurer to begin the recovery process if your home is damaged or destroyed by a wildfire.  Homeowners insurance will cover Additional Living Expenses if your home is damaged in a fire so keep your receipts during your evacuation.”

Officials report that as many as 150 homes have been destroyed by the Boles Fire in the town of Weed. The Courtney Fire near Yosemite National Park has damaged or destroyed 37 homes and 34 outbuildings and multiple cars.

“Residents that have had their homes damaged or destroyed should contact their insurer through the toll free claims number to get the recovery process underway,” said Sektnan.  “Insurers are on hand to help California residents begin the rebuilding process.”

Insurers Toll free Contact Numbers

Tips for Evacuees and How to File Insurance Claims:

Key Insurance Elements for Evacuees to Remember:

• Follow your family evacuation plan and have all family members meet at one previously agreed upon location or call one relative or friend out of the area to communicate and plan next steps. 

• Remember to bring eyeglasses, medicines or other important items and prepare for your pet’s needs, bring leashes, food etc. 

• If possible, prior to evacuating, policyholders should bring their important paperwork with them including a copy of their insurance policy.  Policyholders should contact their insurance company immediately once they are evacuated. 

• Policyholders who have lost their homes to the fires are immediately eligible for Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage which may reimburse for increased living expenses such as, lodging, clothing, toiletries and other necessities.  Policyholders who are evacuated for a period of time by state or local officials, and do NOT lose their home, may also be eligible for ALE reimbursement if the home next door is damaged by fire, and civil authorities prevent you from returning to your home.  Remember to keep your receipts so it will make the claims process easier.

Tips for Filing a Fire-Related Claim:

• Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately.

• Make a list of all of the damage and any resulting expenses. Keep receipts for anything you buy so you can submit them to your insurance company later.

• Many standard homeowners and renter’s policies provide for reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps in paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.

• A homeowner should not throw things away until an insurance company representative has had a chance to assess the damage and make a claim report.

PCI Resources:

Insurers Toll free Contact Numbers

PCI Insurance Checklist and Tips: During and After the Fire

Insurance Tips for How to Physically Prepare for Wildfire Season

Insurance Tips for Financially Preparing for Wildfires

The Association of California Insurance Companies (ACIC) is part of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). ACIC is PCI’s California Voice representing 363 property casualty insurance companies doing business in California. These members write $20.2 billion in premium in California insuring 36 percent of the property casualty insurance sold in the state. California members write 44 percent of personal auto insurance, 29 percent of homeowners insurance, 33 percent of commercial lines business insurance and 40 percent of private workers compensation insurance sold in California.