Debris Insurance Collection Process after Wildfire

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Debris Insurance Collection Process

The County is required by California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to handle the collection of any available private property insurance proceeds identified as coverage for debris removal. By participating in the public debris removal program, property owners assigned their debris removal insurance proceeds to the County. County staff will collect and turn over debris removal coverage proceeds to CalOES. Property owners may reduce the amount owed by submitting documentation for a range of additional debris related expenses and other circumstances related to rebuilding or buying a replacement home.

More information about this process will be made available as CalOES moves along with the program.

Property owners who wish to talk with recovery office staff about the debris removal insurance collection process can make an appointment for a phone interview. In-person meetings are not being scheduled at this time.

Phone appointments: To schedule a telephone call with staff, please email recoveryinfo@sonoma-county.org or call (707) 565-1222.

Set aside insurance claim funds designated for debris removal

  • If you have homeowner’s insurance, and receive a check for your dwelling claim coverages – depending on your policy – this may include an amount designated for debris removal.
  • In coordination with state and federal agencies, the County of Sonoma will work with you to collect the amount specified for debris removal in your insurance.
  • In the meantime, do not spend any funds from your insurance claim payment that are specified for debris removal for other rebuilding activities.
  • It is important to consult with your insurance provider to be certain of your policy and coverages for debris removal.

Save your receipts for any private debris removal work

  • Some residential properties may require private debris removal for burnt trees, outbuildings under 120 square feet, or other areas not included in the government-sponsored debris removal program.
  • Insurance claim funds specified for debris removal can be used to cover those costs.
  • It is important that you save your receipts for any private debris removal costs.
  • The County of Sonoma will only collect reimbursement for the government-sponsored debris removal program if there are any debris removal funds left unspent in your insurance coverage after you have completed the private removal.
  • You will need to provide your receipts to the County for verification of the private removal work.

Have questions? The Frequently Asked Questions on the Right of Entry information page might have answers, or contact the recovery information team at recoveryinfo@sonoma-county.org or call (707) 565-1222.

California Department of Insurance resources

Homeowners insurance policies cover costs for debris removal in a few different ways. You should consult your insurance adjuster to determine if and how much debris removal benefits you were paid. An insurance fact sheet from the California Department of Insurance explains different coverages and the two typical kinds of homeowners insurance. The department’s Top Tips for Wildfire Claimants also offers advice to those who lost their homes in the fires.