Insurance advice for San Bruno explosion victims

September 10, 2010 7:24:34 PM PDT
For those who have fire damage or have even lost their homes in the San Bruno natural gas explosion, what should they expect from their insurance companies?

Keep your receipts

Homeowners who have suffered a loss big enough that they can't live in their homes, must be reimbursed for all the costs associated with the fire's impact. That even includes cups of coffee you can no longer make in your home.

All meals, hotel bills, clothes you must buy, even the mileage of driving back and forth from your temporary lodgings must be reimbursed. And this isn't just for a short time. Most homeowners' policies allow for living expenses for 18 to 24 months; a few shorter than that and a few longer.

One expert told 7 On Your Side those who have suffered a total loss should expect their companies to write a big check for $10,000 or $20,000 just to get started. Costs quickly pile up when you consider a rental's first month, last month, security, clothes, furniture, pots and pans, etc.

Eventually you will need to prove all costs, so keep all receipts.

What if PG&E is responsible?

There has been a lot of speculation that PG&E or someone else could be responsible for this fire. Does that change things? No, at least not initially. Your contract is with your insurance company. If there is a fire they must pay. They can go back and sue a third party for the money they paid out, but that isn't an issue for the homeowner.


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