Tips for Disaster Survivors

When rebuilding be very careful about who you hire to rebuild. After our fire we heard of contractors that were running off with people's money (like the below article). To avoid that situation, we used a Construction Escrow service that held our insurance money in escrow, reviewed the contract with our contractor, did a check on all of their licensing and insurance and then only paid for goods and services that were complete and installed/constructed on our job site. 

There is currently no indication that the person named below has moved on to other areas, but people like this prey on disaster survivors who are in a very bad spot. Please be aware that this can happen and if you happen to see this person around get in touch with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney (phone numbers listed below).

Wanted poster can be found here: 

The article is included in full below, but can also be found on the front page at

A survivor who lost their home in the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire wrote a COMPLETELY FREE little utility that helps find pricing for your personal property inventory. Although you can customize the spreadsheet, the base he provides is the spreadsheet created and compiled by CARe, Inc. following the 2003 wildfire recovery and refined in the years since.
Since the recovery portion of his journey is still ongoing, he would prefer to remain anonymous so he doesn't get swamped with questions, but you can download the file HERE [discontinued]:
Once you download the ZIP file you will need to unzip it so hopefully you can figure that much out. Inside of the ZIP file are three files including the base spreadsheet/database, the actual fillerinner program, the software license and a readme file that includes directions and credits.
You should be aware that just a couple weeks ago Google announced that they're going to stop providing the shopping information in such a way that the program will stop working in it's current format on September 16th. Feel free to use it until then. We hope that he will be able to update it after that time, but for now if you need to price your inventory, USE THIS UTILITY!!!
He has updated to work around Google's announcement by using a support grant from our donors. You can now use the tool online at:

I read this tip online and thought it might be helpful for homeowners in this situation.


Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage is one of the provisions in most policies that is usually short and appears to be a straight forward, especially considering the language used in other sections of the same policy, but securing payment under this provision can be frustrating for insureds. Delay for this type of payment can cause extreme hardship. I have watched policyholders who have lost everything, or even those trying to cope without a kitchen, break down in tears because of the hurdles and roadblocks that stand between them and a payment due for covered additional living expenses. Just this week, I received calls from two insureds on different coasts who are fighting for additional living expenses on covered claims. One homeowner had the rental furniture company coming to repossess the furniture and the other faces potential foreclosure because the check has been "in the mail" for five months.

Read More:

Part II: 


Inspirational Quotes

To see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance.

Dr John Raymond Baker


Thank you so much for your dedicated work and support. We appreciate your offering us to better understand our insurance policy and to negotiate for a fair settlement. We thank you for your valued information and timely support.

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007