sand fire

Homeowners Could Be Reimbursed for Sand Fire Evacuations Costs

The Sand Fire in Santa Clarita has caused significant physical and financial damage to the area, but there may be some relief for evacuees.

It's called additional living expense, or ALE — a basic provision in most renters' and homeowners' policies. Most people are already paying for it and many don't know it exists.

Your home and property don't have to be a total loss to file a claim. In fact, you could have no damages at all to report. ALE coverage kicks in when you have a forced or mandatory evacuation. So if you have to leave your home in a disaster like a brush fire and you incur costs associated with that relocation, save your receipts and file a claim, because you're likely covered if you have insurance.

"If you are ordered to a mandatory evacuation and you have expenses while you are ordered out of your home for a hotel or for meals, things that you need, cleaning — any of those things — those are reimbursable up to the limit of your policy," said Nancy Kincaid, spokeswoman for the California Department of Insurance.

Kincaid says it must be a mandatory evacuation.

The Department of Insurance says most people aren't even aware they've paid for the coverage so they never use it.

For more information on the additional living expense coverage, see the Department of Insurance's earthquake insurance and Residential Property Claims Guide at insurance.ca.gov.

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