Amazon workers in Minnesota and Germany are striking as Prime Day kicks off, in a stand against working conditions and wage practices. The action in Minnesota represents the...Retailread more
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is raising red flags ahead of Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency launch.Marketsread more
Epstein is accused of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his New York and Florida residences. He is a former friend of Presidents Donald...Politicsread more
When you think of Prime Day, you might be thinking about deals on Instant Pots and Amazon Echo devices — not half-off dresses and designer heels. But the market for apparel...Retailread more
David Marcus, the head of Facebook's digital currency project, said the company expects Libra will drive more advertising revenue for the company.Technologyread more
Some White House officials expect the Cabinet secretary, who has known the president for years, to depart as soon as this summer.Politicsread more
Boeing met with aircraft leasing firms and financiers in New York as the grounding of its popular 737 Max planes drags on with no clear timeline for getting the planes back in...Aerospace & Defenseread more
Both companies report earnings on Aug. 8, so the CBS and Viacom boards have set that as a natural deadline to agree to a merger. Price won't be discussed by the companies...Technologyread more
The Food and Drug Administration "stands ready" to start reviewing e-cigarettes amid a teen vaping "epidemic," acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless said Monday in a statement.Health and Scienceread more
US oil companies on Monday began restoring some of the more than nearly 74% production shut at U.S. Gulf of Mexico platforms ahead of Hurricane Barry, the US offshore drilling...Energyread more
The Guggenheim CIO says he had been approached by the White House about possibly joining the Federal Reserve.The Fedread more
Residents affected by the three fires scorching parts of California have yet another ordeal to contend with: beginning the homeowners' insurance claims process.
Two of the blazes — the Hill Fire and the Woolsey Fire — ignited in southern California on Thursday, setting off evacuations, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.
Meanwhile, the Camp Fire moved through northern California on Thursday, forcing thousands of residents to flee and engulfing the city of Paradise.
All three of the fires continued to burn through on Friday.
The one bright spot for homeowners is this: As long as you've been paying your premiums, the standard homeowner's insurance policy covers fire damage to your home, structures on your property and most of your belongings.
Certain specialty items, such as art or jewelry, might need a rider in order to be covered.
Here's what you should look out for if you're preparing to file an insurance claim after you've lost everything.
The best preparation in advance of a disaster is to keep a "go bag" of important materials — including your insurance policies — that you can readily grab before fleeing, said Janet Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute.
Maintain images of your belongings and your home, and keep these in cloud storage.
This is a way to provide your insurer with proof of the items you own and the condition they were in prior to the disaster.
In order to get your claim processed as quickly as possible after a disaster, be sure to report it to your insurer immediately and take note of your claim number, said J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.
Understand the extent to which you have additional living expenses coverage as part of your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
This coverage foots the bill for hotel stays and meals in the event that your dwelling is uninhabitable. Insurers have coverage limits when it comes to paying for these costs, capping the amount that they'll pay for or the applicable length of time, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
You may be entitled to money up-front for these costs, too, so be sure to keep your receipts, said Hunter.
Your insurer will send a claims adjuster to assess the damage and it may recommend a contractor to provide you with estimates.
If you have a trusted local contractor, consider obtaining a repair estimate so that you have a guideline to follow when you're talking to your claims adjuster, said Hunter.
More from Personal Finance
What homeowners can do to prepare for insurance claims
Voters defeat most state tax measures on midterm ballots
Three bad assumptions to avoid during Medicare open enrollment
Be aware that you're not required to use your insurance company's contractor, but you should obtain an explanation if there's a difference in estimates.
It could come in handy if you have to negotiate with your insurer.
"If the insurance company's contractor says that the damage estimate is $50,000 and your contractor it's $55,000, you may ask that contractor to explain why," Hunter said.
Watch out for fly-by-night contractors. Make sure that the company handling your repairs is insured and has good references, Hunter said.
Be aware that there could be limitations on your policy, too.
"If your whole house burned down, it used to be that you had guaranteed replacement," Hunter said. "Insurers started to rethink this and apply an absolute limit on what they will pay."
For instance, a homeowners policy that covers the "replacement cost" of your home will pay out the cost of replacing your damaged home with a similar dwelling in the current market.
However, some companies may cap that replacement cost at 20 percent over the face value of the policy: If your replacement value is $1 million, then the most your insurer will cover is $1.2 million.
This can be a problem amid a disaster, when labor and building materials are in high demand.
"If you have a lot of damage in a large area and hundreds of homes damaged, you may have a surge in prices," said Hunter.
He also warned that insurers may not cover the extra cost of bringing your damaged home up to new building codes, including upgrading your wiring or elevating the dwelling to curb flood risk.
If you disagree with the resolution of your claim, take your complaint to your insurer's consumer relations department.
You can also escalate your complaint to your state insurance department or see a lawyer, said Hunter.
Keep detailed notes of your interactions with the insurance company, as you may need them in the event of a dispute, he said.