Those who have homes and vehicles threatened by wildfires in San Bernardino County and who are insured through the Automobile Club of Southern California’s affiliated Interinsurance Exchange can call 1-800-67-CLAIM (1-800-672-5246) for assistance.
Auto Club Interinsurance Exchange claims specialists are now on the scene at evacuation centers in Victorville and Fontana, but because of the magnitude of the blazes, they may not be at every center.
“If an Auto Club representative is not at your evacuation center and you are an Auto Club policyholder who has been evacuated, please call 1-800-67-CLAIM,” said Jim Will, the Auto Club’s vice president for insurance claims. “An adjuster will contact you shortly to make an appointment to provide assistance.”
Those with auto insurance may also be eligible for claims assistance if their vehicles are lost or damaged due to the fire, depending on the coverage within the policy.
“During a catastrophic event such as this fire, we want our members insured with us to know they can contact us immediately if they need our assistance,” Will said.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding evacuations:
(These are meant to be brief summaries. 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.
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 email@example.com. 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.).