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Dixie Fire: What Can Be Claimed For Property Loss

September 3, 2021 Posted In

A Dixie Fire claim can cover losses that a homeowners policy either doesn’t cover or doesn’t cover fully. Generally, the homeowner insurance policy covers five components:

  1. Dwelling,
  2. Other structures (detached items such as your garage or shed)
  3. Personal property,
  4. Landscape, and
  5. Loss-of-use.

The landscape coverage is seldom sufficient as it is usually limited to a small percentage of the dwelling coverage. The landscape coverage my pay you enough to replace a few trees, shrubs and plants. But a property damage claim against PG&E will include the full costs of replacing all the trees on your property.  Your wildfire attorney may retain expert foresters and arborists to identify the species of the tree loss and estimate the value of the trees and the cost of replacing the trees.  Sometimes the experts may prepare a timber report.

The dwelling coverage seldom includes enough to fully rebuild the structures. The full costs of rebuilding can be included in a claim against PG&E. And beside the dwellings, whether the property is a single-family home, a ranch or cabin, a wildfire typically impacts many other structures such as fences, septic tanks, driveways and culverts.  The costs of replacing those structures can be included in a claim against PG&E.  It’s important to document and quantify such losses for the claim to be fully paid.  Sometimes the extent of property damage may not be obvious.  It may require inspection by consultants such as general contractors and geotechnical engineers.

In addition to estimating rebuilding costs, general contractors will estimate other expenses such as site preparation.  Estimates are also needed for the repair or replacement of the driveway and roadways Septic tanks and lines also need inspection. And the removal and the replacement of fencing should needs to be estimated and included in any claim against PG&E.

Before the fire, the trees and shrubs stabilize the soil.  After a fire, once the vegetation decomposes, erosion issues may arise. Sometimes, the erosions issues are not obvious and a geotechnical engineer must be hired to inspect the property and identify the erosion issues that may develop. Furthermore, a severely hot fire will destroy not only the the trees but the soil as well.   Consultants may be required to develop a plan to revitalize the soil and replant trees and other vegetation with an eye toward stabilizing erosion-prone areas.

By filing a lawsuit against PG&E, the property owner can get paid for losses not fully covered by insurance. An experienced wildfire lawyer will advance the costs of consultants to quantify and certify the uninsured or underinsured property losses.