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Property Damage

California state law lays out what constitutes personal property and loss of use. If you ever lose your home due to a natural disaster, you'll need to understand how the insurance claims process works in order to receive the payout you deserve. Knowing the details of how insurance companies pay out will be helpful if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

Homeowners Insurance Policy

Personal Property On A Homeowners Insurance Policy

You can consider anything you own as personal property. If you lose your home to a natural disaster, your credit cards, your car, and other property that is not covered by your homeowners' policy won't be covered.

Your coverage amount is limited by the dollar amount listed here under Coverage C or your homeowners policy. This amount is typically a percentage of the amount of coverage listed for your home under Coverage A.

Calculation of Property Damage

Calculation of Personal Property Damage

If your personal property is destroyed in a natural disaster, you are entitled to the actual case value of the personal property that is, in fact, covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. In the state of California, state courts generally understand that this refers to fair market value. If your home was destroyed, the damages will then be calculated in accordance to what your home would be valued at in the present real estate market.

If a natural disaster occurred and your home was not entirely destroyed by the events, you as the homeowner are entitled to the estimated cost for repairing or replacing the damaged personal property. This information is broken down in California Insurance Code section 2051(b).

The value of your personal property will be adjusted by your insurance company for depreciation. Depreciation adjustments will show a difference based upon the age and working condition of the property that was damaged.

If your homeowner’s insurance policy includes replacement cost coverage, you will be reimbursed for what it would cost to purchase the damaged personal property if it were all new in the current market. With replacement cost coverage, in other words, there is no deduction to account for value depreciation over the years.

Loss of Use

Loss of Use

When your home becomes uninhabitable following destruction from a natural disaster, it loses its use. Loss of Use refers to the reasonable and necessary uptick in living expenses you incurred while your home was uninhabitable. This information is available under Coverage D of your homeowners insurance policy.

You can only leverage the Loss of Use policy for as long as your home is truly unable to be inhabited. Some homeowners insurance carriers specifically lay out what they consider to be uninhabitable in your policy, but not all do, which leaves the conditions up for interpretation. Generally speaking, if the basic functions of habitable shelter aren’t available, such as cooking and bathing, or the space is unsafe, your house is considered uninhabitable by your insurance company. The length of time it takes to rebuild or repair damage after the natural disaster is not included under Loss of Use.

Sometimes, insurance companies attempt to pay out far less than innocent victims deserve when they lose their house due to natural disasters. Some insurers will argue that the house was inhabitable when it truly wasn’t, and will subsequently pay you less than you deserve. This is referred to as operating in bad faith. If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you can sue for the benefits owed to you.

Loosing Home To Natural Disaster 

Loosing Home To Natural Disaster 

If you or a loved one has lost their home in a natural disaster, you need the help of skilled litigators who have extensive experience dealing with insurance companies in these catastrophic situations. WIthout a knowledgeable attorney by your side, you run the risk of receiving far less insurance money than you deserve. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to pay out the least possible amount of money in their claims and, without an attorney, you may be stuck settling for less than you really need.

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