Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What Most Insurance Companies Provide Coverage For

Most insurance companies provide coverage and replacement costs for 3 distinct items:

  1. Your structure
  2. Your contents/possessions
  3. Other structures on your property

Each of these items has a policy limit specific to your property (many insurances let you utilize 5% of the policy limits for each distinct item). 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 coverage typically doesn’t come out of the replacement costs provided by your insurance company. Make sure to verify this with your insurance company since this information may not be disclosed without you asking for obvious reasons.

Read more about insurance coverage for the Camp Fire here.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Asking Your Insurance Agent About Debris Removal Coverage

Determining and maximizing insurance coverage for debris removal is trickier than you’d think. As we advised before, if you’re a homeowner in the debris removal program, you should first determine your insurance coverage for debris removal. Asking your insurance agency this simple question is more complex than we first thought. Here’s what you should ask your insurance agent:

  • What does my insurance cover for debris removal?
  • Is that portion of my insurance coverage separate from replacement costs coverage for my structure, contents, and other structures on my property?

We have found that most insurance companies have coverage that goes beyond simple replacement costs. (i.e. the coverage for debris removal, or at least a portion of, would be provided by your insurance beyond your standard coverage at no cost to you).

Learn more about insurance coverage for the Camp Fire here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2 Common Questions from Residents Affected by the Camp Fire

The pressing questions most residents want to know are when can I get back into my property and when can I begin to re-build.  It appears some residents have been given access, although numerous warnings have been issued regarding hazardous materials and dangerous conditions being present.  Meanwhile, some areas remain under mandatory evacuation.  Detailed information for both scenarios can be obtained here:  The second question regarding when can residents begin to re-build is significantly more complicated to explain.  As laid out in our previous write-up, this is a multi-step process that consists of assessing and removing hazardous wastes (predominantly household hazardous wastes and obvious asbestos); removing ash and fire debris; excavating 3-6 inches of ‘contaminated' soil beneath the ash footprint; collecting confirmation soil samples and submitting them for analysis to ensure a ‘clean/safe' lot for re-building; and, ultimately providing a report specifying completion of all of these activities to the County of Butte/Town of Paradise wherein they will ‘certify' satisfactory cleanup of individual lots and clear them for re-building.  Our previous write-up, Rebuilding After the Camp Fire, explains this process in more detail.

Read more here!

Monday, December 10, 2018

New Website Launched for Residents Affected by Camp Fire

The County of Butte and Town of Paradise have launched a new website to provide residents affected by the Camp Fire with a one-stop-shop for information and resources for recovery efforts (  The website appears very well put together and offers information from housing for displaced residents to re-entry to the debris removal programs.  Guzi-West will continue to monitor this website, and others, for current information on the recovery elements being developed for the Camp Fire.

Learn more here!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Weighing Costs & Insurance Coverage When Opting-In or Out

It’s very important to weigh costs and insurance coverage when determining whether you elect to opt-in or opt-out (we will provide additional information on maximizing insurance coverage in a separate document).  If you opt-in, all costs associated with testing and debris removal will almost certainly be paid for by the Federal and State governments; thus, if you don’t have insurance coverage or your insurance coverage is low then our firm highly recommends you opt-into the program.  If you have insurance coverage and elect to opt-in then the portion of your insurance coverage specific to debris removal will have to be forfeited to the County/State as a reimbursement for the costs covered by the County/State.  The disadvantage of opting-in is that homeowners can’t control the initial testing work, what is removed and what isn’t, 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).  If you have good insurance coverage, then you may be wise to opt-out as you then have significant control over the process.  Additional guidance will be provided on opting-in or out in a later document once more information is available specific to the camp fire.

Learn more here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rebuilding After the Camp Fire: Step 1

CalRecycle and the CA Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) are already establishing working plans to bring in teams of both government and private contractors.  The Cal-Recycle website was updated 11-20-18 with the following information specific to the Camp and Woolsey Fires:  These state agencies will work with local municipalities and public information meetings will be scheduled in the very near future.  Local assistance centers will be setup and a telephone hotline established.  The fact that the entire area has been declared a federal disaster is important as not only are federal and state funds now available for the cleanup, there will also be funds available to simply help homeowners with recovery (visit and register or do so by calling (800) 621-FEMA (3362)).  Butte County also has an impressive amount of information already available on their website:

See the other steps and more info here!

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