SACRAMENTO — Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to streamline residential insurance claims for victims of disasters such as wildfires.
“When someone has lost their home or suffered serious damage in a disaster, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get coverage they are entitled to,” Sen. Dodd said. “Insurance companies must act swiftly to advance living expenses for temporary housing and other costs and they shouldn’t bury home owners in exhaustive inventory forms. People who pay their premiums deserve to be made whole without unnecessary delay.”
Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, expands the definition of additional living expenses that must be paid to home owners for losses incurred in a state of emergency. Upon submission of a claim, it requires an advance payment of no less than four months for costs such as housing, furniture rental and transportation. Also, it requires an advance payment of no less than 25 percent of a policy limit for lost contents without submission of an inventory form.
The bill, coauthored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, requires insurers to give home owners a 60-day grace period for payment of residential premiums after an emergency. Also, insurance companies will be barred from deducting the land value from payouts for those who build on new lots.
“When a disaster occurs, residents need immediate help, not red tape and unnecessary paperwork that adds to their problems,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “I am proud to sponsor this crucial legislation, enforcing actions that I have urged insurers to take after wildfires to protect policyholders. This proposal will help ensure residents have all the resources and time available to them to help ease the financial and emotional toll of a disaster.”