If there is anything that we must learn after the wildfires in Santa Rosa caused widespread damage, it is for homeowners and renters alike to make darn certain that their coverage is up to date! Also, make sure that nothing sneaky has been added to your policy along the way. They are often called addendums and additions, nice words which can really inflict more pain than you want later.
It is not unheard of, and my policy is no exception, for an insurance carrier to change the terms of a policy during the renewal process. When does the renewal process occur? Every year when you renew and pay your premiums!
Should it be disclosed? Yes, it should be, but let’s not fool ourselves. Who in their right mind reads all of this legal lingo? In reality, insurance policies are written by teams of experienced and skilled lawyers so that can be rough for homeowners!
Don’t shoulder more of the risk than you need to—If a structure burns down, then all legitimate insurance claims should be honored, but where there is a wildfire nearby and your home is impacted by smoke, soot and ash, will your homeowner’s coverage pay for the cleanup? What will the cleanup consist of and how thorough? Does it also include the laundry and all the garments that are in your various closets including shoes, tapestries, carpets? It could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on your villa’s size and your estate’s square footage? Unfortunately, insurance companies one year covers one aspect and then the next year deletes it depending upon all of the fires and other natural disasters in the area that you live or adjacent areas. Be vigilant.
Be mindful of rising property values and that means increasing your insurance coverage as the value of your home appreciates and increases in value. Replacement costs that you looked at for your insurance policy are oftentimes not reflective of current conditions, meaning that you have to evaluate your situation case by case.
The widespread wildfire damage in Santa Rosa will be felt in the marketplace in the form of rising costs for materials such as lumber, concrete, glass, and almost certainly higher labor costs because contractors will take advantage of the supply and demand situation. In addition, the labor unions are generally weak in this area and many of the skilled laborers are either deported or frightened away by harsh immigration policies. Therefore, it is thought that building anew will reach or top the $500.00 a square foot figure which will send real estate prices even higher and make affordable housing even more scarce in an area where it is already impacted.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO GUARD AGAINST INSURANCE SHORTFALLS AND A GREATER COST BURDEN?
- You should pay a little extra for what’s known as an extended replacement cost endorsement. The additional coverage is intended to accommodate at least a portion of any unexpected cost increases like labor and material costs.
- You can also purchase additional coverage for code enforcement upgrades. For example, electrical systems or insulation standards may have changed since your home was constructed a number of years ago. Code upgrade insurance will protect you from the so-called improvements that your basic policy might not even address.
The final word of advice for any homeowner or renter who has purchased insurance it to get your smartphones to work for you. Everyone has a smartphone because they are using it while they are walking, at the gym, where they’re not supposed to be, and now use it to do the following: Take your smartphone, make sure it is fully juiced and start shooting a video of your entire home. That means all of your belongings.
Go into your closets, have somebody there with you rifling through your wardrobe, looking under the bed for those expensive cha cha heels and shoes, open those jewelry boxes and show those glittering gems one at a time or two or three at a time but show the adjustor what the contents of your home look like. That means opening drawers where there are mixing bowls and Versace plates and other ceramic and porcelain heirlooms and dishes. Don’t be afraid, just spend one day in each room because kitchens are oftentimes the place where there is a lot of state of the art equipment that adds up. Remember, many times these big homes in the hills have state of the art home theater set ups and equipment that run tens of thousands of dollars and they need to be documented and videoed for keepsake.
Many homeowner’s policies include ALE coverage as in Additional Living Expenses which will include costs such as hotel rooms, food, lodging, and rentals. This should be helpful for those who have lost property and for those who may lose property in the future.
CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY
First and foremost, we have an interest in representing injured individuals who have been wronged by insurance carriers and governmental entities who may not have maintained the roadway or the signals that caused your injury as in the Caltrans case: http://sonomacountypersonalinjurylawyer.com/case-result/caltrans-serious-auto-accident/
Second, we have the resources and experience to get the job done.
Third, we work only on a contingency fee basis so that you can afford our legal services. You only pay if we win for you. In other words, we don’t get paid until you get paid!
Fourth, our results speak for themselves and we have won millions of dollars for our injured plaintiff clients since 1992:
Fifth, you can read about our excellent recommendations and reviews from satisfied clients and colleagues alike at AVVO https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/95405-ca-michael-fiumara-109708/endorsements.html who has given our Law Firm a superb rating!
Excellent YELP rating: https://www.yelp.com/biz/fiumara-and-milligan-law-pc-santa-rosa
Finally, we have been nominated Top 100 Trial Lawyers, http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Michael/Fiumara/13477/
santa rosa head-on collision lawyerWe know what it takes to achieve satisfaction and success. If you would like to discuss your side impact or T-bone collision car, motorcycle or truck accident case with a highly skilled and very knowledgeable attorney from FIUMARA & MILLIGAN LAW, PC, or if you wish to learn more about how we can fight for you, please contact our law firm in Santa Rosa, CA in Sonoma County at: 707-571-8600 or our San Rafael, CA office centrally located inMarin County at: 415-492-4507.
“The Right Attorney makes all of the Difference…” and we never stop fighting for our clients!