Through our Roadmap to Recovery program you can access free, trustworthy help navigating the process of returning to a wildfire damaged area, repairing and replacing damaged and destroyed property, and collecting all available insurance funds. August 2020 wildfires impacted homes and businesses in many regions throughout California, and our tips and support will be useful in all of them. A Federal Disaster Declaration secured by Governor Newsom means that SBA and FEMA resources will be available for the counties in the Disaster Declaration. United Policyholders encourages all impacted households to click here and register to get information and aid.
If your property is damaged or destroyed, our guidance will help you get started on the road to recovery, make good decisions and keep moving forward. United Policyholders is non-profit and has expertise based on nearly three decades of assisting in communities hit by wildfires. Our staff, disaster veteran and professional volunteers and our partnerships with public, private and non-profit partners will help lighten your load. We're rooting for you and here to help. No strings attached.
The following are selected items from the extensive library of resources we offer. Through our Roadmap to Recovery program you can access tips, tools and the straight scoop on insurance, clean up, contractors, lawyers, adjusters, avoiding ripoffs and mistakes, your legal rights and emotional support from people who geninuely care about helping you navigate successfully. You'll also find links below to recordings of Roadmap to Recovery workshops specifically aimed at 2020 wildfire impacted households.
Roadmap to Recovery Q&A
Roadmap to Recovery for Renters
Steps on the Road to Recovery
STEP 1: Taking it in and getting started
Insurance & Recovery Orientation Webinar for 2020 Wildfire-impacted Households
How to Read and Understand Your Insurance Policy
- First Steps After a Wildfire
- Primeros Pasos Despues de un Incendio Forestal
- Returning to Your (Still Standing) Home After a Wildfire
- Top Ten Insurance Claim Tips
- Sample Letter Requesting Copy of Your Insurance Policy
- Simplified Guide to Your Homeowners Policy
TIP: If you lost your home in the wildfire, when you file your insurance claim, be sure to ask for a cash advance to help you get situated. Because this is a "California declared disaster" you should get a cash advance of 25% of your contents limit and 4 months of your "Additional Living Expense" coverage. Be sure to ask for it in writing (email counts). Your adjuster may be from out of State, so if you get pushback - you can show them this Bulletin from the California Department of Insurance.
STEP 2: Arranging temporary housing
- ALE/Loss of Use: What expenses can you claim on your homeowner's policy?
- Sample Letter Requesting Information About Insurance Benefits for Temporary Living Expenses ("ALE" or "Loss of Use")
- CDI Bulletin: Continuation of ALE Benefits
STEP 3: Getting organized
- Stay in touch with others insured with your same company
- Insurance Claim Rules in California - 2020
- FAQs about Property Damage Insurance Claims in California
- Speak UP: Tips for Communicating with your Insurance Company
STEP 4: Getting debris removed
Partial Losses/Standing Homes:
If your home was spared but was exposed to extreme heat and smoke, we offer specialized guidance on partial loss insurance claim issues related to proper cleaning, inspecting for damage, restoring healthy indoor air quality and repairing obvious as well as hidden damage.
STEP 5: Being pro-active in documenting and valuing your losses
- Insurance Recovery Tips for the Dwelling Part of Your Claim
- Partial Loss Claim Tips
- The Scoop on "Scope of Loss"
- Tips for Reviewing Adjusters' and Contractors' Estimates
- Xactimate Demystified
- Survivors Speak: Estimating Your Loss
- Samples of Damage and Proof of Loss Documentation
- Mobile / Manufactured Home Insurance Claim Tips
STEP 6: Creating your home inventory and navigating your contents claim
- Home Inventory and Contents Claim Tips
- Sample Letter Requesting Contents Itemization Waiver
- Sample Letter Asking for a Personal Property Claim Settlement
- Sample Inventory/Personal Property Claim Worksheets (Excel doc)
- Depreciation Basics
STEP 7: Making financial decisions
- Underinsurance 101
- Survivors Speak: Coping With Underinsurance
- Buy or rebuild?
- Tax Tips for Disaster Survivors
- Updating your home insurance after a loss
STEP 8: Choosing a contractor
- Rebuilding 101: A Guide to the Reconstruction Process
- Questions to Ask a Repair/Rebuild Contractor
- What's up with Overhead and Profit?
STEP 9: Working with your mortgage company
STEP 10: Getting help if/when you need it
- California State Specific Help
- Filing a complaint with the Department of Insurance
- Resolving Claim Disputes
- Hiring Professional Help
Taking care of yourself along the way
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Eyes tired from reading? Watch our FIRST STEPS AFTER A WILDFIRE video here.
Related News and Information:
- CDI Bulletin (8/26/20 Expedited Claim Handling Bulletin)
- CDI Bulletin: Continuation of ALE Benefits
- CDI Bulletin: Chart of Significant Claims and Coverage-Related Laws
Previous UP Workshops and Events