News: 2009 Press Release
For Release: May 22, 2009
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner Announces Support For Extending Tax Grace Period To Cedar Fire Survivors
URGES SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS TO BE PREPARED FOR WILDFIRES
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today joined Assemblymember Joel Anderson (R - El Cajon) to support AB 157, and to offer disaster preparation tips for all San Diego residents.
"Wildfire survivors face so many hurdles as they try to rebuild their homes and lives, and I am pleased to support legislation that aims at giving survivors more time to navigate this lengthy and complex process," said Commissioner Poizner. "I also urge all Californians to examine their own homes and take a few simple steps today to protect their homes and belongings so they don't also fall victim to wildfires."
AB 157 would allow Cedar Fire survivors two additional years to rebuild their homes without their property taxes being reset. Under current law, fire survivors are allowed 5 years to rebuild before higher property taxes are set.
"The time it takes to rebuild homes and lives cannot be underestimated, and for many, restoration is an ongoing challenge," said Assemblymember Anderson. "I introduced Assembly Bill 157 as a simple way to ensure a realistic timetable for addressing the losses that survivors have suffered."
Commissioner Poizner also advised all local homeowners to proactively prepare for fires and other potential disasters by conducting a home inventory and updating their insurance policies.
This year's wildfire season is already under way. The May 5 Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara destroyed 8,700 acres and burned 80 homes to the ground. Commissioner Poizner urges all homeowners to conduct a home inventory to maintain detailed records of their belongings. He encourages consumers to update their insurance companies with any home additions or major purchases so that their insurance coverage is adequate.
Commissioner Poizner offered the following tips for conducting a home inventory:
Using a household digital camera and a Home Inventory Guide from the California Department of Insurance, catalogue your possessions and document their values. Photographs of household goods are especially helpful when an item is difficult to describe on paper, or if a purchase receipt cannot be obtained.
- Label photographs with information about each item.
- If a video recorder is used, commentary about each item should be included.
- A copy of the inventory and supporting documentation, such as receipts and model numbers, should be stored in a safe place, such as a safe-deposit box, work office, or a relative's house.
- These records should also include financial documents such as insurance policies and mortgage information.
- A free Home Inventory Guide is available at www.insurance.ca.gov.
- Contact CDI at 800-927-HELP to obtain consumer information guides about additional insurance products, or for any insurance-related questions.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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