Auto Club Offers Wildfire Evacuation Tips

Firefighter at Mission Hills Fire
Photo Copyright Chris Yarzab

Recent wildfires have caused thousands of home evacuations and are continuing to endanger additional neighborhoods. The Automobile Club of Southern California is advising residents to prepare for possible evacuation if they live in the area of the wildfire.


Auto Club policyholders with claims should call (800) 67-CLAIM or (800) 672-5246.

Do not delay obeying an evacuation order to pack items in your car, but if you have time prior to an order, the Auto Club recommends placing the following emergency items in your vehicle:

  • State and local maps
  • Cell phone car charger
  • Fully equipped first aid kit
  • First aid manual
  • Prescription medicine
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Extra clothes and shoes
  • Tissues, pre-moistened towels, and toiletries
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Flashlight with extra batteries and bulb
  • Pocket radio and extra batteries
  • Small tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, wire, pocket knife, can opener, duct tape)

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding evacuations:
(Please refer to your policy for specific coverage information)

Question: How can I find real-time information on road closures?

Answer: For up to date information on road closures, visit the California Department of Transportation online or call 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

Question: Where can I find the most recent information about emergency shelters?

Answer: If you are in need of emergency shelter, water, or food, please call 1-800-REDCROSS, visit the Red Cross Greater Los Angeles chapter online or find your local Red Cross chapter online.

Question: I'm having trouble finding a hotel with availability; what can I do?

Answer: If you need help finding a hotel, call our reservations number at 1-877-222-1020 or use the Auto Club’s online travel booking service. Auto Club travel agents have access to the most up-to-date information on hotel availability and can assist you immediately.

Question: I want to let my family know I'm safe, but I'm having a hard time getting in touch with them. What can I do?

Answer: People affected by the wildfires are encouraged to register themselves on the Red Cross Safe and Well Website. People without access to a computer or without electricity or connectivity can call the Red Cross (1-800-REDCROSS) for help registering, or register a loved one on their behalf.

Question: I am concerned about the safety of friends and family members who have been evacuated. What can I do?

Answer: Family members and friends can log on to the Red Cross Safe and Well Website and search for registered individuals to learn of their whereabouts and status.


Here are answers to frequently asked questions regarding Auto Club insurance claims:

Question: If I have to leave my home due to the fires, even if it is not ultimately damaged, are my hotel expenses covered?

Answer: The Auto Club’s homeowners, condominium owners, and renters policies all provide coverage for additional living expense when a civil authority has ordered you out of your home. This coverage provides for not just hotel expenses, but also reasonable and necessary costs that you actually incur including food. This coverage is provided for up to a two-week period during the time the authorities do not allow you to return to your home. Your home policy deductible may apply to this coverage.

Question: What do I need to do to file a claim?

Answer: To get the process started all you need to do is to call our Claims Department at 1-800-67-CLAIM or 1-800-672-5246.

Question: If the fire destroys the trees, shrubs, plants, or lawn on my property, is there any coverage?

Answer: Yes. Your policy provides additional insurance for plant materials. It is limited to 5% of your Coverage A (Dwelling) with a limit of not more than $500 for any one tree, shrub or plant. So if your home is insured for $150,000, you can get up to $7,500 coverage for all of your trees, shrubs, plants, or lawn.

Question: Do I have coverage for smoke damage?

Answer: Your policy does cover your property that has actually been damaged by soot or smoke residue.  If soot or smoke residue adheres to your property you might have coverage.  Filing your claim in a timely manner (within 90 days) is critical. 

Question: I don’t have my policy number. I left it at home. Is that going to be a problem?

Answer: Don’t worry about providing your policy number. All we need to get started is the address of the insured property and your phone number.

Question: Can I file my claim online?

Answer: Yes, you can start the claim process online by emailing In order to help us get started, please include your home address, two phone numbers where we can reach you immediately, and a brief description of what has happened (fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, wind damage, evacuation expenses, etc.).