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What you need to know about fire insurance claims in California

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2022 | Fires/Floods

Homeowners in California know that insurance companies are required by law to maintain their coverage, especially if they live in a high-risk area. However, most people misinterpret these laws, as was the case of a Shasta Valley resident that received a premature notice of her policy cancellation.

Senate Bill 824

The law requires insurance companies to automatically renew a policy for a minimum of one year if the homeowner is up-to-date on their payments. The bill also states that insurers cannot cancel or non-renew a policy within 60 days before the expiration date.

Filing a claim

The Shasta Valley resident received a cancellation notice from her insurer just 41 days before her policy was set to expire. She appealed the decision and was able to have her policy reinstated; however, she had to pay a higher premium because she was now considered a high-risk customer.

Under normal circumstances, fire insurance claims may be the way to go. To apply, the victim would need:

  • A police report
  • Proof of ownership
  • A list of damaged or lost items
  • Receipts or estimates for repairs

The law requires insurance companies to act quickly and handle your case fairly to award reasonable benefits. If your claim goes successfully, you should get compensation for the cost of repairing your home, replacement costs for damaged or lost belongings and additional living expenses if you need to live elsewhere during repairs.

Appealing your claim denial with your insurance company

You can file an appeal with your fire insurance company if you believe your claim was wrongfully denied. This is done by writing a letter to the insurer explaining why you think the claim was wrongfully denied and requesting a review of the decision. It may also be helpful to include any new evidence or information you have that wasn’t available when filing the original claim.

If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, you can take your case to small claims court. You’ll be required to convince the judge or jury how your insurance company acted in bad faith or breached their contract with you.

While it is unfortunate that natural disasters like wildfires happen, it is important to be prepared in case your home is affected. Knowing your rights as a California homeowner can help you navigate the claims process and get the compensation you need to rebuild your life.