Code Upgrades and ERC Claims Lisa Norris asked 4 weeks ago
Code Upgrades and ERC Claims

We live in Northern California and our home burned down on November 6, 2018. This was a single home incident, not part of a wildfire. However, the day following our fire, the Camp Fire began in Paradise, so our insurance company lumped us in with those claims. Due to this, they paid out our full policy with no investigation. I was not educated on the additional funds that were available to us, so assumed the amount we got was all we were getting.

The policy paid $198/sq ft ($286k). Due to Paradise, the cost to rebuild with a contractor was a minimum of $450/sq ft, so, we decided to become an owner builder (thinking we only had the original amount). Our plans were approved in the fall of 2019 and we began framing in November. Four months later, COVID came along, and costs of goods and services skyrocketed again. At this point, we were falling way short of finishing with the funds we had. We are about 75% finished, with only 40k left with the mortgage company.

The rebuild was put on hold for a while and I recently began fighting again for additional funds from the bank to get a roof. Come to find out through my research, that many of the costs I incurred should have been covered by code upgrades through the insurance company. The insurance did agree to pay for our fire suppression system about a year ago, but it’s clear that we are owed a lot more than the $3,700 they paid out. My policy has an additional 25% for code upgrades, and an additional 25% for ERC. Based on our $286k policy, that would be another $143k.

I spoke with 2 different public adjusters, one wanted 10% of any monies obtained, but was very unreliable and had terrible communication. The other said that he would need 40%. I have downloaded all the codes and have created separate PDF documents for each item, which includes the code upgrade ordinance, invoice, and proof of payment via bank record, for each of the items I have paid for. Since certain things were privately purchased due to cost, I only have major store receipts for my windows (title 24/WUI compliant) the fire suppression design (they paid for the install only), the water meter upgrade to accommodate said system, the Title 24 calculations, and certain permits needed.

We have the balance of the insurance money coming from the bank now, which will get our roof, HVAC system, and possibly the electric. All of these will be Title 24 code upgrades as well.

I simply have no idea what my next step would be.

How would I request payment for the items I have purchased and is the information above enough to make the request?

Do I need to wait until I use the next $40k before I request payment for those items, or can I submit quotes for those items along with the code that goes with it?

Is there a way to request payment for items privately purchased that have already been installed with a simple private party receipt (mainly Hardie siding and related expenses)?

Are they required to give me this money? Can they deny it?

How would I show the need for the ERC? The prices were astronomical due to COVID and Paradise. How would one prove that?

I’m hoping someone can help point me in the right direction to at least begin the process.