Sebastopol, CA asked in Insurance Bad Faith and Insurance Defense for California

Q: I just lost my home and everything I own due to the wildfires in Santa Rosa. Insurance company is asking for a lot!

Homeowners Insurance company is asking for a lot. They want me to create a spreadsheet of thousands of items, describe each of them, document their age and put a value on it. This will take months of full-time work. I am wondering if I can just ask for a percentage less of what they owe and not have us create it, or them review it. So for example, if our policy states we are covered for $400k, they will just cut us a check for say 10% less than that and both of us will get rid of the red tape. Is that possible?

2 Lawyer Answers

Gerald Barry Dorfman

  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Unfortunately, that won't do it, although you may be able to handle the necessary paperwork in a way that takes a lot less time than you anticipate. The amount of coverage really doesn't determine the amount of your claim, except to put a cap on it. Of course, if you have $400K in coverage, own the home outright, and can demonstrate the value of the home vastly exceeds the policy limits, that could work. Then, you would not have to bother with a contents claim. So sorry for your loss.

William John Light

  • Insurance Claims Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Anything is possible, it's just not very likely. Part of your duties under the policy is to create a Proof of Loss Statement. That means a list of what was destroyed and/or purchase price and value. That may require receipts, photographs (to prove ownership), estimates or offers of sale for identical or similar items (to prove value). If you aren't willing to perform your duties under the policy, your insurer has no obligation to pay.

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