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The past two months have brought unspeakable tragedy to South Coast. From the Thomas Fire – the largest wildfire in California’s recorded history – to the mudslides that devastated Montecito, our region has seen its share of tragedy. As rescue and cleaning crews continue to help get Santa Barbara and Ventura counties back up and functioning, the last thing our residents should have to worry about is whether their insurance carrier will pay for the devastation. With the 101 freeway finally reopened, residents and business owners finally have a minute to collect their thoughts. This often includes taking a good look at the successes and failures of their insurance policies.

The havoc caused by the Thomas Fire is expected to plague the South Coast for years. That means it’s time to ask yourself some important questions regarding your current insurance coverage:

Did your insurance carrier pay for travel expenses when you evacuated?

When you’re forced to evacuate your home, expenses related to the evacuation can add up quickly, especially if the evacuation mandate last days or weeks. If your home is located in an area designated for mandatory evacuation, your homeowners insurance may provide reimbursement for travel expenses. If you’re unsure whether your homeowners insurance policy covers additional travel expenses, speak with a licensed insurance agent immediately.

Did your insurance carrier pay for additional living expenses?

In the event that your home is damaged beyond a livable state and you are unable to return, your homeowners insurance policy may include coverage for additional living expenses (ALE) or “loss of use.” Additional living expenses is a type of coverage often included in homeowners insurance policies that reimburse the insured for the cost of maintaining a comparable standard of living after a loss. Many discount insurance policies do not include this coverage or offer below standard levels of coverage. Keep in mind that in the event your home burns down, it can take two years or more to rebuild. If you’re unsure about how much additional living expenses are covered by your policy, speak with your insurance agent today.

Did your insurance carrier pay for cleanup?

If you’re one of the lucky ones who emerged relatively unscathed from the recent natural disasters, it doesn’t mean you’re fully in the clear. Your property may have minimal smoke, fire or water damage. Even small damage can be costly to cleanup or remediate. If your insurance company is giving you the runaround over paying for this clean up, call us today at (805) 564-7645.

Did your insurance carrier waive your deductible?

Sometimes, homeowners insurance policies will include a clause that waives your deductible, or a portion of your deductible, when damages exceeds a certain threshold. Large loss waivers of deductible are not as commonly talked about but can be an important money-saving advantage in a claim. If your homeowners policy has a waiver of deductible clause, you should feel more comfortable taking a large deductible to save money on your policy. These waivers differ by insurance carrier, so make sure to speak with a broker today.

One final question to ask yourself is, “Are you sure your insurance carrier would have paid to rebuild your house if it had burned down?” Construction costs can soar in areas hit by a major natural disaster. Oftentimes, homeowners in these areas find that their insurance policy replacement costs are not enough to rebuild fully. It’s important to make sure you carry the proper amount of insurance, especially if your home is located in an area that is prone to wildfire or flooding.

At Brashears Insurance, we make sure our customers understand their insurance policies fully and are protected against losses large and small. Our synchronized approach to insurance ensures you have the coverage you need when you need it. For more information, or to receive a free quote, call us today at (805) 564-7645.