California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones recently posted a bulletin urging insurance companies to provide North Bay fire victims up to 100% of their personal property coverage limits by not requiring the insured to fill out a detailed inventory.

The notice was issued in the midst of an increasing number of Northern California fire victims struggling with their carriers over meeting the inventory requirements, which is incredibly time-consuming and is being required to be completed all while the victims continue to try to rebuild.

In October, insurers, under an agreement with Insurance Department, began advancing at least twenty-five percent of personal property coverage without requiring fire victims to itemize the property. In addition, Jones has urged that “due to the large scale of these wildfires, many insured are overwhelmed with the tasks of dealing with housing issues and family issues and construction issues and other major adverse changes in their daily lives…The Department has received numerous complaints from insureds about the monumental task of attempting to identify every item of personal property they may have amassed over years or decades in order to collect replacement cost.”

Insureds should expect a reply by January 8th whether or not the insurance companies will comply with Jones’ request.

According to a Press Democrat article, “[P]olicyholders have filed 14,686 residential property claims in Sonoma County, resulting in almost $7 billion in damages, according to data the department released earlier this month. Of that total, there were 4,785 residences completely destroyed in the fires. Insurance companies have paid out almost $2.4 billion so far.”1

If you have questions regarding the payout of your contents claim, contact an experienced insurance professional.
1 Bill Swindell, State presses insurers to waive inventory requirement for North Bay fire victims, The Press Democrat, December 21, 2017 (last viewed 1/23/2018).