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House explosions and fires are often caused by (tenant) drug growth and manufacture – such as a meth lab or butane hash oil extraction. Landlord Policies exclude fires caused by the illegal growth or manufacture of drugs – a nasty financial surprise for the unaware. But it is covered when the Landlord is unaware of the activity because California insurance law protects innocent insureds. We are investigating Allstate, Farmers, 21stCentury, Pacific Specialty Insurance and First American and would like to hear from you if you suffer a drug fire.

Farmers Insurance and Allstate Insurance caught denying covered fire claims     based on the “Vandalism Exclusion.”

Farmers and Allstate have both been caught and sued for denying fire claims citing the“Vandalism Exclusion” for accidental fires caused by vagrants squatting in the homes. This is another consumer abuse as accidental fires are not vandalism!

Bullock v. Insurance Cases

Link To Complaint
Allstate sold a fire insurance policy then denied the fire claim saying it was vandalism (same issue as Ong v. Fire Insurance Exchange)(below) accidental fires are not vandalism!

Pacific Insurance Specialties Caught Denying Landlord Coverage



Be Vigilant for Price Gouging :

Raising prices for essential goods, services & housing in the wake of a declared disaster is illegal Price Gouging (the California Drought, the Porter Ranch gas leak and wild fires all qualify). Our price gouging law protects: Food, drugs and gas; Building materials, clean up and construction; moving, storage, housing (hotel & rentals). Food & Drug, clean up, storage, construction and housing companies all provide services protected by the Price Gouging statute.

Ignoring engine and mechanical damage with auto collision claims:

Car accidents do not only impact the body and paint work – the frame, axles, transmission and cooling systems are also often damaged. The industry is loath to undertake the cost of diagnosing engine and other problems and thus – just fixes the body work and sends the insured out the door. Then, when the car overheats or transmission blows a few weeks later – coverage denied. We experienced this exact scenario with Mercury Insurance Company – along with sending a purported “expert” who only gathered claim denial information. If you have mechanical damage in the aftermath of a collision which is denied – let us know we have information this is another improper investigatory method which is widely practiced.

Insurance Claim Investigation by phone:

We all read about kitchen meth or drug labs causing fires but what we don’t think about is the poor landlord who gets the call “your rental is on fire on the evening news!” But a new “illegal plant growing” or “drug manufacture” exclusion is making the news much worse – the horrific event is now receiving a “coverage denied” letter which denies coverage for fires caused by illegal (drug) activity – regardless of whether the landlord had knowledge or control of the activity. This is an ISO standard policy form, so we expect all of the carriers to try it: State Farm, Farmers Insurance, Allstate Insurance and Pacific Specialty Insurance. We’re filing suit against First American for coverage and will update this site when we have a result.

Denying Fire claims by Calling Fire Vandalism:

We recently resolved another “fire is vandalism” case – Bullock v. Allstate Insurance et al. Just like the Ong v. Fire Insurance Exchange (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 901 matter, Allstate suggested a fire caused by vagrant activity was “vandalism” rather than a fire or arson. The case settled for confidential terms including an undisclosed payment. Landlords must protect themselves from this risk “fire is vandalism risk” by purchasing a vacancy endorsement for periods of vacancy. If you suffer a casualty such as fire, burglary or robbery – contact us for a free consultation as we make sure all valid claims are covered.

Public Storage: bait and switch ads, fee overcharges, lockout and illegal insurance practices:

Downey v. Public Storage

Link To Complaint
PS alleged to engage in false advertising, mischarging of fees, locking tenants out and misrepresenting its insurance.

Cabral v. Public Storage

Link To Complaint
PS alleged to have locked out a tenant and confiscated his property without following any legal process plus AIG Insurance took PS side without investigating the claim.

Published Cases:

Ong v. Fire Ins. Exch. (2015) 35 Cal.App.4th 901

The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and granted coverage after a fire loss. The insurance carrier had denied the claim alleging a trespasser losing control of a warming fire was a form of vandalism and therefore excluded.

20th Century Insurance Company v. Superior Court (Ahles) (2001)

90 Cal.App.4th 1247 the Court of Appeal upheld the reopening of thousands of Northridge Earthquake claims based on improper claim handling was constitutional. This case was appealed to the California and US Supreme Courts.