Lawyer showing files to grandparentsCalifornia Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said that the amount of fire-related insurance claims in the state amounted to $9 billion by Dec. 1.

A total of 260 insurance companies received the claims for residential, commercial, automobile and other property losses. Jones said that the amount represented a new record, which exceeded the $2.7 billion of filed claims for the Oakland Hills fire in 1991.

Insurance Record

More than 18,000 households filed claims for partial or complete damages. Most of these filings coming from Sonoma County, according to Jones. Automobile claims reach almost 5,000, while business property and claims for other properties such as boats comprised almost 2,300 and 650 filings, respectively.

The insurance commissioner also advised people to be thorough with their choice of contractors for rebuilding projects. At the same time, you should also check for any inaccuracies on information reported by your insurer. These might happen as insurance firms bring in staff from outside the state to help with the sudden increase in claims. Those who wish to maximize their insurance claim settlements may consult national public adjusters.

Fraud Detection

Inaccurate information has been an issue when filing a claim. That is why you need to be aware of certain insurance laws. Jones advised that you may use the insurance money to build or buy a house, contrary to a belief that one could only use it for rebuilding work.

The state law allows people to resolve their claims within 24 months, which is the designated period for disasters such as wildfires. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Francisco Division has planned to combat potential fraudulent activity in relief efforts. It created a task force and partnered with local and state agencies to investigate how the fraud happened in other recent disasters in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

Arm yourself with the right information about insurance claims to make sure you make the most out of every settlement.