Get the Most out of Your Policy

Tips for Navigating Insurance Claims

Those affected by the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslides should contact their insurance companies, including their homeowners’, renters’, business and automobile insurers, and open a claim to seek payment. We can assist and provide guidance in this regard.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Additional Living Expenses coverage is extended to 24 months minimum in disaster (limits are not changed). Cal. Ins. Code 2051.5(b)(2)
  • You may have a right to replace elsewhere rather than rebuild. Cal. Ins. Code 2051.5(c)
  • Insureds have a right to obtain copies of all claim-related documents, due within 15 days of request. Cal. Ins. Code 2071
  • When insurer is the one that prepares a rebuild estimate, it must provide the name and contact information of at least one contractor who will do the job at that price. 10 C.C.R. 2695.9(d)
  • Insurers must keep their files in such condition that the state Insurance Commissioner can review them and reconstruct the events and the insurer’s actions. 10 C.C.R. 2695.3
  • Insurers must respond within 15 days to communications regarding claims that can reasonably be interpreted as expecting a reply. 10 C.C.R. 2695.5(b)

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What Your Insurance Likely Covers


  • Home
  • Other structures, like detached garages, storage sheds, and fences
  • Furnishings, art, appliances, electronics, and other personal belongings
  • Debris removal
    WARNING: at a future unknown date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or your local government may seek reimbursement for this expense if they perform the debris clean up activities.
  • Landscaping
  • Additional Living Expenses, such as clothing, meals, and food


  • Damaged or destroyed personal belongings
  • Additional Living Expenses

Typically, landlords’ insurance policies do not offer benefits to lessees.

Business Owners

  • Damaged or destroyed land, trees, and vegetation, including vines and other crops
  • Damaged or destroyed property and outbuildings
  • Injured or deceased livestock
  • Revenue losses from lost business or an inability to conduct business

What's the Real Replacement Value?

Lost Trees

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Kristine has been named one of the Top 50 women lawyers in Northern California by Thompson Reuters and San Francisco Magazine, as well as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California.

Kristine Meredith

Danko Meredith

Mike has frequently listed as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California and has been this year named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Mateo Trial Lawyers Association. He has been honored with a nomination for Trial Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California. He has been named among the Best Lawyers in America consistently since 2009.

Mike Danko

Danko Meredith

In addition to his work representing victims of the PG&E gas line explosion and Butte fires, Dario helped to achieve a record-breaking settlement in an insider trading case implicating CEO of Oracle Larry Ellison. Dario in a Stanford Graduate and is often called upon by the courts to act as arbitrator in certain matters. He has served as adjunct professor of law at Canada College since 1998.

Dario de Ghetaldi

Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle

Amanda was appointed by the court to serve as co-liaison counsel for all the victims from the San Bruno fires. She currently serves as court-appointed co-liaison counsel for over 3,000 victims involved in the Butte Fire litigation. She has been a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys of California’s Woman Advocate of the Year Award. She also co-founded the San Mateo County Bar Association Legal Clinic Committee, which provides on-site legal services to residents of Shelter Network and Samaritan House’s homeless shelters on the Peninsula.

Amanda Riddle

Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle

Eric brings over two decades’ experience representing clients against large and powerful defendants including utility companies, banks, pharmaceutical companies, auto makers, tech companies, and others. The Daily Journal named Eric to its prestigious list of “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California” for 2016 and Law360 recognized Eric as a “2016 Consumer Protection MVP,” the only plaintiff-side lawyer in the country selected in that category. Consumer Attorneys of California selected Eric as one of the finalists for the Consumer Attorney of the Year award for work in achieving $100 million settlement for customers against Chase Bank.

Eric Gibbs

Gibbs Law Group LLP