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.

Insurance negotiations are different than a standard negotiation such as when buying a car or trying to get a raise.
For example, when asking for a raise, one strategy might be to ask for more than you're willing to settle on. For example, if you make $20 an hour and want $25 an hour you might walk in asking for $30 an hour and be okay when you get $24.50.
When negotiating an insurance claim, you can not use this strategy. You need hard evidence that your claim is what it is and you can not budge because your evidence is solid. In fact, if you have a $500,000 claim and start at $650,000 just to "get down" to $500,000 the insurance company might be able to invalidate your entire claim because you fraudulently claimed $650,000 when you weren't owed this amount.
This difference is because you entered into the contract, or policy, before the claim and you already agreed on "replacement" and no more. What is "replacement"? Most people were told by their insurance company how much insurance they needed and that it would be plenty in case of a loss. If you have a loss and are finding they were wrong then come to our meetings or contact us for a policy/claim review.
For more Insurance Negotiation Tips, download our updated Negotiation Tip Handout at:

Inspirational Quotes

You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.

Bill Cosby


Thank you for all your help. We have settled and are moving ahead with our lives. You were a tremendous help.

Tea Fire Survivor, 2008