Instructions for Letters to Your Insurance Company
Your attorneys have drafted a series of sample letters that you can use to begin the insurance claims process and address the most common issues that arise early in your claim. There are five sample letters you can use:
- Letter A: Initial Proof of Loss and Notice to the Insurance Company (the first letter to your insurance company notifies the company of your loss and makes early requests for additional living expenses). PDF
- Letter B: Request for Advance of Additional Living Expenses (this letter asks your insurance company to advance you four months of additional living expenses, so you can secure and pay for alternative housing). PDF
- Letter C: Request for Payment of Interim Additional Living Expenses (this letter requests payment of additional living expenses already incurred by you in the event the insurance company refuses to issue an advance). PDF
- Letter D: Request for Advance on Personal Property Coverage (this letter asks your insurance company to advance you 25% of your personal property coverage). PDF
- Letter E: Request for Partial Payment of Personal Property Loss (this letter requests a partial payment for your personal property losses in the event the insurance company refuses to issue an advance). PDF
Please read the letters. The purpose of each letter should be self-explanatory. As you complete the letters, please keep the following in mind:
- Certain sections or sentences that require you to make editing choices or insert information are highlighted in yellow. It is possible that not every highlighted section will apply to you. Also, you may not have some of the information requested. Edit the letter to make it apply to your situation.
- Letters C and E require you to provide additional documentation. For letter C you will need to provide a partial list of your additional living expenses, which are defined below. For letter E you will need to provide a partial list of your property losses. You can find a generic inventory form to use, here.
- Throughout the letters, certain defined terms are used. These defined terms appear in bold/italic type and are described below. Whenever one of these terms is used in the letters, please insert the requested information. As explained below, most of this information can be obtained from your Declarations Page.
The following defined terms are used in the sample letters that you will submit to your insurance company. When you see these terms in the sample letters, please substitute the information described for the bold/italic term:
- Declaration Page: The Declaration Page, which is sometimes called the “Dec Page,” is a cover sheet that comes with each insurance policy. The Declaration Page is not the contract of insurance, but it provides valuable information about your policy. The Declaration Page is where you can find the following: Insurance Company, Policy Number, Policy Period, Policy Limits, and often the Claims Address or Claims Email.
- Insurance Company: You will need to find the name of the insurance company that wrote your property and casualty, automobile or other insurance on the Declaration Page. Please note that you may have insurance with more than one insurance company. You will need to send the relevant letters to every insurance company. Please make sure you use the exact insurance company name found on the Declaration Page or in the Insurance Policy.
- Insurance Policy: Your Insurance Policy is the legal contract or document that defines your rights and responsibilities. You may need your actual insurance policy to verify certain information needed in the letters below. At a minimum, you will have (a) property and casualty insurance policy—often called a Homeowners’ Policy—that insures your home, outbuildings and personal property contents; and (b) an automobile policy that insures your registered automobiles. In addition, you may have riders or separate policies that insure your valuable artwork, jewelry and collectibles, antiques, motorcycles, RVs and boats. Finally, you may have business interruption or business loss insurance that protects you from loss of income or revenue due to a hazard like the recent wildfires. These instructions do not apply to business interruption or business loss insurance.
- Insureds: The Insureds means you, your spouse or partner, and anyone else living at your home at the time of the fire. The Named Insureds means you and anyone else specifically listed on the Declaration Page.
- Insured Address: This is the physical address of your home or dwelling that is insured by your property and casualty, or Homeowners’, Insurance Policy. You will find the Insured Address listed on the Declaration Page.
- Policy Number: Your Policy Number is an alpha-numeric (or sometimes just numeric) number that is shown on your Declaration Page. It is helpful if you include your Policy Number on communication with your Insurance Company.
- Date of Loss (DOL): This is the date your home or personal property was actually damaged or destroyed. For the Woolsey Fire, the Date of Loss is likely to be November 8, 2018 through November 11, 2019. For the Camp Fire, the Date of Loss could cover a range of dates, try to be as specific as you can.
- Policy Period: This is the effective date of your policy and is usually a period of one year. Each year, when your policy renews, you start a new Policy Period. Your Policy Period is typically found on the Declaration Page and is shows in the following manner: “Policy Period or Effective Date: May 1, 2018 to May 1, 2019.” It is helpful to indicate your Policy Period when using the sample letters.
- Coverage A Limit (Dwelling): Under most California Insurance Policies, the Coverage A Limit is the maximum amount your Insurance Policy will pay for damage to your primary residence—your home. The Coverage A Limit is show on the Declaration Page and should correspond to the cost to reconstruct your home with like kind and quality materials.
- Coverage B Limit (Other Buildings): Under most California Insurance Policies, the Coverage B Limit is the maximum amount your Insurance Policy will pay for damage to your outbuildings like sheds, gazebos, docks, detached garages, etc. The Coverage B Limit is usually 10% of your Coverage A Limit but may be set at a different amount.
- Coverage C Limit (Personal Property): Under most California Insurance Policies, the Coverage C Limit is the maximum amount your Insurance Policy will pay for damage to your personal property, which includes items like clothes, furniture, electronics, tools, toys, kitchen utensils, etc. The Coverage D Limit is usually 40-50% of your Coverage A Limit but may be set at a different amount under your Insurance Policy.
- Coverage D Limit (Loss of Use): Under most California Insurance Policies, the Coverage D Limit is the maximum amount your Insurance Policy will pay you for the cost of all your Additional Living Expenses caused by the loss. The Coverage D Limit is usually 20% of your Coverage A Limit but may be set at a different amount.
- Additional Living Expenses: Additional Living Expenses are all the costs you incur or pay to relocate and live somewhere else as a result of the fire that are in excess of what you already pay and include evacuation expenses, hotel costs, lease and rental costs for temporary housing, excess transportation costs, utilities and deposits at any place you rent, and furniture and electronic rental among others.
- Insurance Claim: Your Insurance Claim is the overall process of submitting, adjusting and finalizing your claim with your Insurance Company. The Insurance Claim results in the payment of money from your Insurance Company to you.
- Claim Number: This is a unique number the Insurance Company assigns to your claim. You may see multiple Claim Numbers on your communications with your Insurance Company if you have multiple Insurance Policies or certain riders.
- Claims Address and/or Claims Email: This is the physical address or email address that your insurance company requires you to use to submit your proof of loss, request advances or partial payments, or file supporting documents. You can find the Claims Address or Claims Email on your Declaration Page or in your Insurance Policy. Alternatively, your Insurance Agent or Claims Adjuster may provide a Claims Address or Claims Email.
- Insurance Agent: Your Insurance Agent is the person who sold you the Insurance Policy. Your Insurance Agent may or may not be an employee of the Insurance Company. It can be helpful to include your Insurance Agent on communication with the Insurance Company because the Insurance Agent may advocate on your behalf.
- Claims Adjuster: The Claims Adjuster is the person assigned by the Insurance Company to Actually adjust your Insurance Claim. The Claims Adjuster may or may not be an employee of your Insurance Company.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE INFORMATION SUGGESTED ABOVE, THEN PROVIDE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS YOU CAN. THE REALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION IS YOUR PROPERTY ADDRESS AND THE CORRECT INSURANCE COMPANY. THE REST CAN BE ADDED LATER.