Who Pays for Crime Scene Cleanup?

The violent crime rate in California is higher than the national average at 451 violent crimes perpetrated per every 100,000 people in the state annually, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. A majority of violent crimes occur in residences. Consequently, homeowners and others are faced with crime scene cleanup. A fundamental question faced in that type of situation is who pays for crime scene cleanup?

Misconceptions About Who is Responsible for Crime Scene Cleanup

A fairly widespread misconception about crime scene cleanup is that law enforcement or some other governmental agency undertakes this task on behalf of a homeowner as part of their overall area of service. This is not true. The property owner bears ultimate responsibility for crime scene cleanup. In some cases, that responsibility may be shared by a property owner and a tenant, depending on the facts surrounding the crime.

Overview of Crime Scene Cleanup

Professional crime scene cleanup can prove to be a costly endeavor because of what may be involved in the remediation process. A number of factors come into play when it comes to crime scene cleanup. These include making certain that a crime scene fully is remediated. In addition, the process of crime scene cleanup must always be undertaken with an eye to the safety of residents of a home, the crime scene cleanup crew, and others.

The reality is that blood, bodily fluids, and other biological materials can contain dangerous pathogens. These are viruses and bacteria that can cause serious, and even fatal, diseases.

Because of the need for a thorough, safe remediation, engaging a crime scene cleanup professional is the wise course. Additionally, residents of a home in which a violent crime like a homicide has occurred do not need to be further traumatized by taking on the truly challenging, daunting task of crime scene cleanup on their own.

Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Some people may have recourse to filing a claim with their homeowner’s insurance policy when it comes to paying for crime scene cleanup. With this noted, this is not a universal reality with all homeowner’s insurance policies.

When a person takes out a new homeowner’s insurance policy, or when a homeowner undertakes a policy review, the issue of what is covered by the particular policy must be discussed with the insurer or agent. If a policy does not provide this type of coverage, a homeowner may want to take steps to broaden the extent of policy coverage. Although odds are that an insurer will never need to access crime scene cleanup insurance coverage, making sure that type of protection is available is a wise move considering the potential costs associated with that crime scene remediation.

Because odds are a California consumer has never had to file an insurance claim for crime scene cleanup, a person is wise to select a crime scene remediation specialist who not only accepts insurance but that will assist in filing a claim. By having someone with experience in pursuing this type of important insurance claim involved in the process, the odds of obtaining payment approval are enhanced.

If a homeowner believes his or her insurance policy should cover crime scene cleanup, and an insurer denies a claim, a person can contact the California Insurance Department for more information about such a claim. Through its consumer assistance efforts, the California Insurance Department may be able to provide at least some assistance in regard to a claim.

California Victim Compensation Board

The California Victim Compensation Board provides different types of financial and other assistance to victims of crime, including violent crimes. The types of financial compensation available to a California victim of a violent depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular case.

The California Victim Compensation Board does offer financial resources to crime victims in some cases that provide funds up to $1,000 to go towards cleaning up a crime scene. This money is an addition to other compensation that may also be available to a crime victim.

Questions about crime scene cleanup claims and other victim’s resources can be obtained at:

California Victim Compensation Board
P.O. Box 3036
Sacramento, CA 95812-3036
Phone: (800) 777-9229
Fax: (866) 902-8669
www.victims.ca.gov
[email protected]

The possibility of someday being faced with the costs associated with crime scene cleanup underscores the need to ensure that a person has the most comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy affordably available. Ensuring proper coverage necessitates at least an annual review of existing policies to ascertain whether any adjustments or alterations are needed.