Assistance and information for displaced or property damage victims of the California wildfires and firestorms in San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernadino Counties including the Malibu wildfires, Lake Arrowhead fires, San Diego firestorms and other Southern California regions affected by the wildfires that swept through California in October 2007.

Wildfire & Firestorm Victims

Information on rebuilding your property & life

It's difficult to immediately pick up the pieces after such devastation, but tradegies like the California wildfires give you the opportunity to rebuild not just property you've lost, but also the life you want to live. Our hearts go out to all the victims of the San Diego firestorms that literally wrenched people away from their homes and into the largest evacuation of it's kind in US history.

But we know none of those facts matter when the Malibu, San Diego, Arrowhead or San Bernadino fires have taken away your property. Although mentally and physcially challenging at this time, it is essential you focus on the future and look at preserving your right to an insurance settlement that will allow you to rebuild your life for the better.

Please find below a firestorm checklist of what you can and should do to ensure you follow the guidelines and procedures of your insurance and claims process and receive the settlement you need and deserve.

Please also find to the right, useful and valuable information to help with the current evacuation or displacement process, the insurance claims process and some links to local news and emergency information on the wildfire progress and containment updates.

We hope you find this information an integral part of the rebuilding process. Thank you.

Firestorm Checklist

After the fire
What to do immediately following your return home.

  • You are required to protect your property from further damage so board up openings and install chain links necessary to prevent unauthorized entry. This will protect your belongings and keep others from getting into the property or getting injured.
  • Contact your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible after your return.
  • Ask for certified copy of your insurance policy from the insurance company (including all forms and endorsements) if you do not already have one.
  • Before entering into any serious discussions or negotiations with your insurance company review the policy and make sure you thoroughly understand your rights and obligations under it.
  • Call a professional to help you in understanding what your policy says. They will assist you in evaluating your property contents, structure and ALE claims with no upfront cost.
  • Separate the damaged from the undamaged property (which is by your insurance policy)
  • You should not hire a contractor to rebuild your home or property until you have settled with your insurance company and know how much you have to spend on reconstruction.
Beware of contractors asking you to sign a contract for any services other than for emergency services. Read our brochure "Don't Get Scammed"

Picking up the pieces
What to do if you can't move back in.

  • Do not dispose of any damaged property without written approval from your insurance company. Keep a log of all conversation and meetings with your insurance company and others sent by them. Be sure to include dates and times.
  • Save all your receipts after the damage to document property replacement, living expenses or extra expenses you will encounter.
  • Photograph or videotape the damage scene. Make sure you document all severely burned property.
  • Contact your gas, electric, cable, newspaper and other companies to discontinue services (if necessary).
  • Your phone company can assist with forwarding your phone or have a recording put on your phone line.
  • Forward or hold your mail at the post office.
  • You may want to check the references and professional qualifications of anyone offering to provide a service to you, including anyone sent out by your insurance company.

Download a PDF version of this post-wildfire checklist >

Using a Public Adjuster

An advocate on your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, when you need it most.

We recommend the engagement of a public adjuster for all victims of fire, flood and earthquake who have lost property and need professional assistance in communication & negotiations with their insurance company for the best possible outcome:

  • No Start-up or Retainer Fees:
    It costs you nothing to sign up and get a jump on your insurance claim immediately.
  • Pre-negotiated Percentage-based Fee:
    Adjusters receive a fee only as you receive your settlement.
  • Unflagging Persistence and Commitment:
    From the moment an adjuster is retained, they should get down in the trenches, paying special attention to the minute details needed to document your claim without giving in to the intense pressures that can be brought to bear on unrepresented individuals.
This site recommends Metropolitan Adjustment Bureau of Los Angeles for their expertise, experience and negotiation proficiency:
Their staff has over 100 years of cumulative experience in the field of insurance adjusting.

Learn more about how a public adjuster can assist with your insurance claim, or contact Metropolitan Adjustment Bureau for more information.
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