A list of people, places and things to help San Diego live through and recover from the wildfires.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tips for evacuees and fire victims

Posted @ 5:05 PM

Residents who have been under mandatory evacuation face many issues related to their displacement, no matter how temporary. Here are some tips for evacuees as well as homeowners looking at the possibility of rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by the fires.

Insurance
If you are under a mandatory evacuation order, you may qualify for
financial help under the "loss of use" provision in your homeowner policy. Some companies offer up to two weeks advance payments to cover such things as hotel and other living expenses. Keep your receipts.

If your home is damaged or destroyed, the policy may cover longer-term living expenses while you are rebuilding. It would not, however, cover other costs, such as mortgage payments and property taxes.

Contact the state insurance commissioner's consumer hotline for more information, (800) 927-4357. The commission Web site also has useful tips: www.insurance.ca.gov/

Mortgages

The California Bankers Association recommends contacting your lender to begin applying for "loan forbearance" to delay or reduce monthly mortgage payments. For example, Wells Fargo is willing to delay payments for up to 90 days. The mortgage term is typically extended to cover these delays.

Natural gas service

SDG&E recommends calling (800)411-7343 to have natural gas lines turned back on if you shut them off yourself. The company shut off service to about 1,600 gas customers in affected areas and will restore it automatically.

Rebuilding procedures

San Diego city, Poway and county officials are setting up local assistance centers in the affected areas to deal with insurance and utility concerns, building permits, health matters and federal and state disaster relief. Details are expected shortly.
-- By Lori Weisberg and Roger Showley

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