insurance.

Why Aren't the WildFire Survivors Back Home Yet?



Fire

Season Approaches For 2009 - Why Aren't San Diego's 2007 Fire Survivors Back in

Their Homes Yet?

By Mark

Shapiro

The

October 2007 Wildfires are two years in the past but many of the affected fire

victims have not yet been able to rebuild their lives and their homes. Out of

the more than 1,700 San Diego City and County homes that were lost in 2007,

only about 55% of the homeowners have obtained building permits and started

their rebuild process. Many of those have not yet finished.

What is

Taking So Long?

Under

insurance is one of the most common reasons why homeowners were not able to

quickly rebuild their homes. According to Amy Bach, Executive Director, United

Policyholders, "After the 2007

wildfire in San Diego County, 75% of the victims found themselves underinsured

by an average of $250,000."

United

PolicyHolders recommends that you do not take your agent/insurers' word for it

that you are fully covered without confirming and preserving their promises in

writing. Ask your agent or insurance company for confirmation that you're

adequately insured for a total loss.

Another

reason that many have not been able to rebuild is because the insurance

companies "lowballed" the estimated amount it would take to rebuild.

Changes in local building and fire codes can substantially increase the cost of

rebuilding as well.

"When

insureds receive a lowball estimate and realize it is not enough, they then

must renegotiate with the insurance companies which often means bringing in

legal professionals or public adjusters," says Ron Reitz, President of San

Diego Quality Claims Management. "This results in even more delays to

the rebuilding process."

According

to Valerie Brown, Project Coordinator at RB United, one of several affiliated

non- profit fire recovery centers helping fire victims in San Diego County,

"The most common issue is the long negotiation that occurs between what

the contractors say it will take to re-build the house and the amount of money

that the Insurance company is willing to provide for rebuilding."

There

are ways to help prevent these insurance issues from affecting you.

Make

sure you understand your insurance policy. Set up a time to meet with your

agent to go over your existing policy to make sure you understand what is

covered and what is not. Confirm that you have the right amount and the right

type of insurance for your property and your possessions.

If you

do have a disaster, and feel you are not being treated fairly, contact a

professional for help. Talk to non profit organizations such as United

PolicyHolders as well as numerous legal professionals and public adjusters who

can help you. You may also with to file a complaint with your state Department

of Insurance.

Author:.

Over 20 years of successful experience in high tech PR and media relations. This includes the areas of Embedded hardware and software, telecom, eCommerce, storage, consumer electrpnics and internet services, SaaS, networking, wireless networking, zigbee, content delivery, internet and broadcast video, consumer video, etc.

I have worked with start-ups, small and medium companies as well as large international technology organizations.  As a small operation, we are very affordabl...

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