Tips for Disaster Survivors

Everett v State Farm is the most recent case which has impacted every homeowner in California. You can read the appellate court decision HERE.

When hiring a contractor it's generally better to find your own trusted contractor than using the contractor recommended by the insurance company. Because they have a previous relationship (and potentially a future relationship) they are generally more worried about pleasing the insurance company than pleasing you. You should also make sure the contractor does not talk directly to the insurance company. All communication should go through you so you know exactly what is going on.
The creator of the website has suggested doing the following research before hiring a contractor:

  1. Check the status of the license at the CSLB Website
  2. Check to see if the contractor has a history of placing liens on the properties he works on at the County Recorder's office of your county any surrounding counties.
  3. Check to see if they've been a party in any lawsuits through the local court system of your county any surrounding counties.
  4. Check them out through the Better Business Bureau.

For more tips go to their website and click on Tips On Hiring Home Remodeling Contractors

After a disaster some people prefer to replace their house with another house that's already built in a different location (and sometimes even in a different county) rather than rebuild on the same spot. While each municipality has their own rules about transferring your base-year value between counties each will allow transfers within the same county. There are also special exemptions for people of at least 55 years of age and also rules about people with disabilities. Please contact your local assessor for more information, but here are some helpful links to get you started.
State of California related rules from the State Board of Equalization:
San Diego County:
County of San Bernardino:
Los Angeles County:
Orange County:
El Dorado County:
Here is an explanation of how it's calculated, given by the Orange County Tax Assessor as it was stated in March of '08

Here is another explanation by the Sacramento County Tax Assessor.

Please be aware that each county might have it's own regulations that could change the rules given by other counties.

Inspirational Quotes

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.

Anthony Robbins


We lost our home in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire in Poway CA. As was the case with most (if not all) of my neighbors, we were drastically under insured through no fault of our own. I don’t believe that anyone is prepared for such a catastrophic emotional and financial loss. The task of completely rebuilding your life is monumental. Fortunately, the city of Poway co-operated with CARe and allowed them to hold bi-weekly insurance meetings in the City Chambers. After attending 2 of the group meetings we then scheduled several one-on-one meetings with CARe and were able to start to piece together the puzzle that is a catastrophic insurance claim. The resources which CARe was able to put us in touch with were incredible, and after they showed us the basics of handling an insurance claim we felt that we had knowledge to work through the once daunting task of negotiating with our insurance company. We could not have made it through the process without the information, help and encouragement that we received from CARe

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007