Friday, August 24, 2018

Determining Insurance Coverage for Debris Removal

carr fire, carr fire california, carr fire redding, wildfire redding ca, wildfire redding california, Determining Insurance Coverage for debris removal is apparently trickier than one would think.  As we advised previously, the first step for homeowners in regards to the debris removal program should be to determine your insurance coverage for debris removal.  What we first believed to be a simple question you should pose to your insurance agency turns out to be significantly more complex.  Here’s what you should ask your insurance agent:
  • What exactly is my insurance coverage for debris removal AND is that portion of my insurance coverage separate from coverages for replacement costs for my structure, contents, and other structures on my property.  It turns out most of our insurances have coverage that extend beyond simple replacement costs (i.e. the coverages for debris removal, or at least a portion thereof, are essentially provided by your insurance and above and beyond your standard coverage at no cost to you).
  • Most insurances provide coverage and replacement costs for 3 distinct items:  1. Your structure, 2. Your contents/possessions and 3. Other structures on your property.  Each of these 3 distinct items has a policy limit specific to your property; many insurances allow you to utilize 5% of the policy limits for each distinct item (i.e. your coverage for debris removal is likely a cumulative total of 5% of your policy limit for structure replacement + 5% of your policy limit for content/possession replacement + 5% of your policy limit for other structures replacement).  Utilizing these 5% portions of your coverages also typically DOES NOT come out of the replacement costs provided by your insurance company.  Make sure to verify this with your insurance companies as this information may not be disclosed without you asking for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Disadvantage of Opting-In the Consolidated Debris Removal Program

carr fire, carr fire california, carr fire redding, wildfire redding ca, wildfire redding california, The disadvantage of opting-in to the consolidated debris removal program is that homeowners can’t control the initial testing work, removal of the debris, general control of their property and most importantly time (the government process for doing the required testing, waste removal, and confirmation testing in the end is expected to take several months at minimum).  The amount of fires present throughout the state, including the 1,000+ homes destroyed locally, will cause a strain on the availability of qualified contractors to perform the required work which will certainly lead to significant delays.    Many insurance companies have already had or lined up the initial required asbestos testing for property owners who are electing to work with their insurances privately.  Meanwhile, a prime environmental contractor will still have to be retained by the Program and that contractor will then retain qualified subcontractors to perform the testing and clean-up; that governmental procurement process will likely take a good deal of time, especially given the shortage of qualified contractors.  Homeowner’s who wish to opt-into the Program will be required to remit the portion of their insurance coverage dedicated for debris removal over to the Program to cover the government’s costs.  

Read the full step by step guide to opt-in or opt-out here!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Consolidated Debris Removal Program: Step 2 to Opt-In or Opt-Out

carr fire, carr fire california, carr fire redding, wildfire redding ca, wildfire redding california, Step 2: Once homeowner’s know their respective insurance coverage, they can simply choose to opt-in and simply wait for the work to be completed by the government agencies, or opt-out and choose which contractors work on their homes based upon their availability to complete the work and associated costs and/or they can simply work directly with their insurance companies to have the required work completed.  Our firm is seeing both approaches being employed.

Read the full step by step guide here!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Consolidated Debris Removal Program: Step 1 to Opt-In or Opt-Out

carr fire, carr fire california, carr fire redding, wildfire redding ca, wildfire redding california,
Step 1: Determine your insurance company’s specific coverage available for ‘debris removal’ from your property.  This varies greatly from insurance company to company, but can be a flat % of the total replacement value of your home ranging from roughly 5% and up.  Some homeowners have more than enough coverage while others have far too little (a rough estimate on testing, clean-up and disposal is $20,000 on the low end and $50,000 on the high end).  If you had no insurance on your home, then Guzi-West recommends you “opt-in” to Shasta County’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program, as the program will cover costs from testing to debris removal.  You should be prepared to be patient if you choose to opt-in and allow the government agencies to complete their work.

Read the full step by step guide here!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Clean-Up After Carr Wildfire in Redding

Thousands of Shasta County residents were displaced by the Carr Fire and many who lost homes have been calling our office requesting asbestos sampling and to generally help with what the next steps will be.

Guzi-West has been in contact with our local health departments and we expect them to follow the cleanup standards utilized for the recent Sonoma Fires.  Homes that require demolition will likely be required to have a full asbestos survey of the remaining contents of the home so that the debris can be properly disposed of.

Further, environmental soil sampling will likely be required to ensure the soil beneath the home is not contaminated with various metals that may now be present from the interior contents of the home essentially melting.

To facilitate this, background soil samples will likely have to be collected around the perimeter of the structure; 3-6 inches of soil may need to be excavated to ensure the new home is built on non-contaminated soil; and, confirmation soil samples collected following the excavation to ensure the soil remains largely free of metals.  The number of confirmation samples and what constitutes ‘clean’ will be determined by our local health departments.

In the event the confirmation samples have concentrations of metals above the ‘clean’ criteria then the background soil samples will be analyzed to see if certain metals are naturally occurring in the vicinity of the home.  Although this sounds burdensome and slow, this work will likely happen rapidly once the protocols for sampling are in place.

To find out more about how we're helping families affected by this wildfire, please visit our website!

Helping Families Affected by the Carr Fire

The Carr fire in Redding, California is one of the most destructive fires in California’s history, spanning 126,913 acres and counting. In response to this unfortunate event, Guzi-West has offered to donate 20% of its August revenue to families who are victims of the fire. There have been six casualties and over 1,000 homes destroyed by the Carr Fire.

Families are still evacuating their homes throughout the county due to the continuous spread of the fire. Firefighters are doing their best to fight the fire to keep it from spreading further with the current conditions. Guzi-West feels that donations will help families with their losses and struggle during this tragic event. 20% of their August revenue will go to victims of the Carr Fire.

For more information, visit our website!

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