Napa Fire victim claims Farmers deceived him on home insurance

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With nearly 14,000 homes just lost to the Camp Fire in Butte County, it's an issue that many more people will be dealing with in the near future -- that is being underinsured when it comes to trying to rebuild the home they lost. (KGO-TV)

With nearly 14,000 homes just lost to the Camp Fire in Butte County, it's an issue that many more people will be dealing with in the near future -- that is being underinsured when it comes to trying to rebuild the home they lost. It's a problem many who lost everything in last October's North Bay fires are still dealing with 14 months after the fact.

"The problem is that we were dramatically underinsured," said Bob Albo, who like thousands of others, Bob Albo and his family lost a home in the North Bay fires last October, a complete loss he thought was covered by his insurance company.

But 14 months later, Albo is still battling with Farmers Insurance over how much it will cost to rebuild the 3,200 square foot home in Napa's Silverado neighborhood.

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"We're in the hole over $700,000. We were not covered even 50 percent with the insurance," said Albo.

In late 2015, Albo used Farmer's own estimator tool to come up with a replacement value of $661,000. After the fire, Farmer's sent an appraiser to the property on Westgate Drive, who determined the rebuild would really cost more than $1.3 million.

According to those who advocate for policyholders, Bob Albo is not alone when it comes to dealing with insurance companies after a total loss.

"Unfortunately I've heard this story many times," said Amy Bach, founder and Executive Director of San Francisco-based United Policy Holders. "This is a huge problem. It's a crisis. It's been a crisis after every wildfire in California. It happens after a total loss. That's when people find out the insurance company didn't insure them for the total value and they've been deceived."

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Albo says Farmer's recently agreed to kick in another 25 percent above the policy limit, but still well-short of the actual rebuild costs.

"Farmer's motto is that we prepare people for the unexpected," said Albo. "Well we got hit by the unexpected and we were totally unprepared for that."

ABC7 News contacted a spokesman for Farmer's, who told us only that the company is working with Mr. Albo to resolve his claim.

Consumers can get more information from United Policyholders at www.uphelp.org.
Related Topics:
North Bay FireswildfireCamp FirehomefirecaliforniainsuranceNapa
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