Escondido, CA
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Rising from the ashes

~ Guest Opinion

The Lilac fire burned 4,100 acres and destroyed 157 structures in the Bonsall and Fallbrook areas. Among these were 75 homes located in Rancho Monserate, a close-knit community that saw almost one-third of its homes destroyed.

As a result of the Lilac, Thomas and other recent fires, new legislation is being introduced in Sacramento to assist the rebuilding process. For my part, I have introduced legislation to assist homeowners in Rancho Monserate and similar common interest developments throughout the state when they seek to obtain loans for rebuilding.

Additional bills under consideration would allow insured homeowners to combine coverage for unused structures to help cover costs of rebuilding an underinsured primary structure. Other bills would clarify the scope of coverage for additional living expenses (ALE), and extend the time to rebuild and collect full replacement costs from 24 to 36 months after a declared disaster. Legislation has also been proposed to require insurers to provide “Replacement Cost Estimates” for new residential insurance policies and at each annual renewal, clarify the rights of insured homeowners regarding replacement costs, expand coverage for debris removal, and provide greater transparency for policy holders. These bills have just been introduced, and final bill language, committee assignments and hearing dates are still being developed.

In addition to state efforts, more federal help is also on the way. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that residents impacted by the Lilac Fire may apply for disaster assistance. FEMA grants can include funds for home repair, rent and uninsured property loss. You can register online at or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

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Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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