Homeowners' Insurance and Local Disasters (updated)

The following article is from Richard Lane who has a house on Kutci Drive here in Mi Wuk.  He also lost a home in Coffey Park, Santa Rosa, last October 9th.

His neighborhood went from this

to this

And four years ago, he, like many others, evacuated from Mi Wuk Village during the Rim Fire.  The following is from Richard:

I’ve learned a little bit too much lately about Homeowners (and Renters) Insurance and how it works. And I know the only way to change how it works is to talk about it.

There are two bills coming up in the California Senate. I’ve attached a single page *.jpg of the most significant portions. Google SB 894 or 897 if you want to read the whole bill.

Here’s the easy part. Call or email your State Senator. I was stunned by how easy this was; say “I support these bills.” Whoever answers the phone will be glad you called.

I went to the State Capitol and saw the process; it was a pretty awesome experience. I was also stunned by how they actually listened and cared.


Chair of the Insurance Committee – I’ve been told he’s the linch-pin on these two bills. Call or email:

Honorable Steven M. Glazer (D- District 22 –Alameda/ContraCosta)

916 651- 4007



Our Senator:

Senator Tom Berryhill (R- District 8 – Mi Wuk and more)

(916) 651-4008



This process that I am going through with State Farm as a result of the Northern California Firestorm in Sonoma County is sick and needs healing. Can you say mudslide?

Again if you have insurance in California you bought it to protect yourself from what could possibly happen. 

This is just the next step of having what you bought actually work for you. It doesn’t now, and needs to.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Support California Disaster Insurance Legislation

Protect All Insureds in the Future

& October 2017 Disaster Victims Retroactively

You Are in Good Hands—Yours. Take Action to Protect Your Families.

Two bills in the California Senate need your support to overcome the 

$ Millions spent by the insurance industry to aggressively lobby for their defeat. 

($Millions the insurers could be paying you for the coverage you paid for instead)

Senate Bill 897.  In Disasters,

  • Clarifies and expands Additional Living Expenses (ALE)
  • Requires a minimum of 80% advance payment of personal property without an itemized inventory in disaster situations   

Write to Senator Mike McGuire to support this bill (sample letter below).


1303 10th Street, Room 5061, Sacramento CA 95814
Phone 916-651-4002 ~ Fax 916-651-4902 Pat Sabo

District Rep for Sen McGuire
 Pat.Sabo@Sen.Ca.Gov ~ 707-576-2771

Watch:  4/25/18 Senators Dodd & McGuire Press Conference on these bills:  https://bit.ly/2whZp65 

See https://legiscan.com/CA/bill/SB897/2017 for full text and to track its progress.
 Sponsors: Sen. Mike McGuire (Santa Rosa and north Sonoma County), Sen. Bill Dodd, Asm. Marc Levine, Asm. Jim Wood

Senate Bill 894.  In Disasters,

  • Extends Additional Living Expenses (ALE) to 36 months
  • Combines the policy limits for primary dwelling, other structures, contents, and additional living expenses to use for any of the covered purposes in disaster situations   

Write to Senator Bill Dodd to support this bill


State Capitol, Room 5064, Sacramento CA  95814
Phone 916-651-4003 ~ Fax 916-651-4903 Santa Rosa Office

Phone 707-576-2093

Fax 707-576-2095

See https://legiscan.com/CA/bill/SB894/2017 for full text and to track its progress.
 Sponsors:  Sen. Bill Dodd (Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, and Sonoma), Sen. Mike McGuire, Asm. Marc Levine

All Californians, not just disaster survivors, should contact their State legislators to support legislation that further protects disaster victims from insurers.  Unfortunately, fires and other catastrophic events (in addition to earthquakes and floods) are our “new normal.”  Find your State Legislator:  http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ 

Proposed legislation changes as it goes through the approval process, so this is just the first step in reaching out to our elected officials.  NeighborsTogetherSR.com/Take-Action will attempt to provide updated information and further actions, but each constituent should always fact-check before taking action.  This flyer was developed by survivors and allies of the Oct 2017 Sonoma County fires and has not been endorsed by any elected official. We are a coalition of unpaid volunteers. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below is a sample (take it and use it if you’re so inclined–obviously change names/addresses as appropriate) letter that Senator McGuire suggested we use to send to his office.  The same could be sent to Senator Berryhill or to your state senator:



The Honorable Senator Mike McGuire

California State Capitol, Room 5016

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Senate Bill 897 (McGuire, Dodd) – SUPPORT

Dear Senator McGuire,

I am writing in support of SB 897.  California is facing a new reality when it comes to woodland fire disasters.  An expedited road to recovery is essential to the well-being of our state, residents and local economies.  This bill creates fair and reasonable compromise for homeowners  and renters.

The North Bay Firestorm was the most destructive and deadly in modern American history.  The level of destruction was unprecedented with over 6,000 homes completely destroyed and 44 neighbors tragically lost their lives.  California residents have never witnessed a fire season like the one that hit our state in 2017.  A total of 30,000 structures were destroyed or damaged totaling $12 billion.

Losing a home is one of the worst life experiences a person can live through.  The loss takes a significant emotional toll on a family.  The massive amount of paperwork and unrelenting details that insurance companies require residents to go through for recouping their losses put an unreasonable burden and hardship on disaster-stricken victims.

White it can take years for someone to rebuild their home, the pressure of dealing with life’s demands is an immediate concern for disaster victims.  They must deal with everything from finding a new place to live, to purchasing food, and keep up with th3eir jobs, bills and other living expenses within hour of losing their home.

[insert a description of SB 897’s personal importance to you]

SB 897 would create standards to expedite residential insurance claims after a Governor-declared disaster and allows survivors to start rebuilding their lives and homes.  In order to provide fairness and peace of mind to disaster survivors, I am in strong support of SC 897.

Thank you for your consideration.



[Full Name]

[Street Number, Street Name]

[City, State, Zip Code]

I sincerely thank Richard for taking the time and effort to inform our community about his experience after the Coffey Fire took his home as well as sharing information on how to contact our state senators in favor of voting yes for the bills to change insurance legislation so we receive what we’ve paid for.

The major concern of policyholders is insurance premiums so bear the following in mind:

The Department of Insurance stated in the Senate Insurance Committee hearing that these bills will not raise rates.  The actuaries who determine the Limits of Coverage on insurance policies have taken the possibility of paying out the limits before the policies are written.

Please don’t just sit on this.  Take action so we can reap the insurance coverage we pay for. This post is definitely time sensitive.


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