Hollywood Arson Victim Finds Her Insurance Company Won’t Pay Up

HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — Sarah Kramer describes herself as “a struggling musician.” After a string of Hollywood arsons last week, she is struggling even more.

Kramer’s car was one of the vehicles lost in the 53 arson fires allegedly set by suspect Harry Burkhart.

Those fires reportedly caused upwards of $3 million in damage to property, apartments, vehicles.

While her car wasn’t a total loss, it was parked next to an apartment that was engulfed in flames.

Amanda Burden, reporting for KCAL9 and CBS2, met up with Kramer who acknowledges the arson is causing her to sing the blues.

“It’s all I had,” she tells Burden, “I need the car for work and it’s a total loss.”

Rubbing salt in her wound? Her insurance company won’t cover the damages. Kramer carried minimum liability coverage.

“It took me years to save up the money for this car. It cost me $3,000. I still owe credit card debts on the car, so it’s more like a $5,000 loss.”

Gary Hairapedian, owner of First Knight Insurance, says Kramer would have needed comprehensive collision coverage to make a claim for fire or vandalism.

Sighs Kramer, “I never expected this type of destruction. I never anticipated a bomb or a fire.”

  • Alpha Kenny Juan

    She wasn’t aware of the type of policy she had; why is this news? If she only carried liability, then she wouldn’t be covered for fire or theft. She would need comprehensive/collision.

    I had an accident in 2010 where someone sideswiped me and totaled my car, and I didn’t have comp./collision, and I had to take the loss. But since I was at fault, my insurance company totaled the other guy’s car and paid him $3500. No problem; comp./collision costs more, and if your car isn’t worth more than a few thousand dollars, then in my opinion it’s probably not worth insuring it for theft or fire. I use the Club for theft; that’s my theft insurance.

    • bounce

      >> I had an accident in 2010 where someone sideswiped me and totaled my car, and I didn’t have comp./collision, and I had to take the loss. But since I was at fault,

      Wait, someone sideswiped you and totalled your car, but then you were at fault?

      • Alpha Kenny Juan

        I was looking for parking, and I pulled out onto Franklin from a side street. The car that hit me was going eastbound on Franklin, and he hit the front left of my car. It was my fault because he was going straight and I had driven into his path. If he had swerved left, he would have been in the westbound lane of Frahklin, and if he swerved right, he probably would have hit the middle or rear left of my car. I told the insurance agent the guy was definitely not going 35 – probably more like 50 or 55 – but she said speeding is tough to prove, and the guy was being cooperative (he didn’t claim any injuries), so I declared fault for the accident.

      • Eric Kent

        Yeah I liked that too. Someone side swiped me and totaled my car. But since i was at fault. Doesn’t this sound more concise “I was in an accident and my car was totaled, since I was at fault. and only carry liability insurance, I had to take the loss.”

  • Whitney Muse

    This is sad; it is.

  • Mithras

    Is there a way to donate to help those who lost possessions in these arsons, and aren’t covered by insurance?

  • Jack Blass

    I knew a guy who had a brand new large pickup truck. Was financed, $35,000.He would go off roaring and stuff. Had only liability…..

    He was driving one day, someone pitched a cig butt out the window and it landed in the truck bed. Back there, old rags and stuff from off roaring.

    Guess what. Truck went up in smoke.

    Total loss, it burnt it up entirely. Insurance won’t pay. He’s still making payments, on a burnt frame…

    • Eric Kent

      Yep your story is a lie!!!!! You cannot finance a vehicle and not have FULL COVERAGE. Now you know so you can make up a more realistic lie.

    • doc

      I call b s on your story Jack. You can’t fiance a vehicle without full insurance coverage.

      • alex

        hey doc yes you can i have in the past most of time dealers just want to sell you the vehicle and all the want to see is a ins policy and than its the finance company that follows thru if they catch it and i actually bought 2 vehicle at the same time for me and my wife from a well known dealer in el monte so yes it can be true

      • Billie Rose-Kernes

        I agree with Doc. You can’t finance a vehicle without full coverage but that insurance can certainly get cancelled. But as soon as the insurance company finds out they will add on comp and collision for you and you will pay for it. Read your contract. But in that case, you have no liability because the finance company only cares about the vehicle.

        And why is this headline “Insurance Company Won’t Pay Up?” Why should they? She didn’t pay for the coverage so why should they give it to her? I’m not trying to sound heartless, I do feel for her but it is what it is. There are alot of people that can only afford liability ins and liability coverage is all you should expect in return.

  • sarah kramer

    my car IS a total loss. i knew i had liability ins and they didn’t cover… it was all i could afford, and on a 1993 car, i was never fearful of theft or vandalism, and i would have dealt with spray paint or key scratches or broken windows, should that ever have occurred. yes, i didn’t plan for this type of vandalism. i was not parked next to a building that was engulfed in flames, i was parked in front of another car that was set on fire and blew up into mine. that car was fully insured, but doesn’t cover damage to my car because the owner/driver of the car was not at fault. i only reached out to the news thinking there could be a possibility of help for all of us that are stuck from this mess and have no savings and rely on our cars for work. public transportation in this town is pathetic. i did not go on air for pity or to complain. i have been trying to stay positive and move forward. we can only do our best, only try our best. despite the set back and how much this puts me out, i am a grateful person. i thought this story could help more than just myself.

    • White biker

      Sorry, I believe the state or city could have granted you some compensation or some sort to ease your loss, but the money were all drained in raising anchor babies. Maybe you can ask your next door neighbor Norma Rodriguez or Jose Martinez, because they collected all the money for years.

    • Mike

      Sorry for what happened to your car. I’m looking to get rid of my 2002 honda civic in the near future for dirt cheap. If that’s something you think you might be interested in, contact me. Maybe I can help you out.

    • Jeezus

      You really ARE strugging! You have a framed picture on the wall minus the picture! Someone will help out. Pretty girls get looked after :) Patrice Oneal had some funny jokes on that topic. RIP Patrice. RIP sarah’s car.

      Can you sue Burkhart?

    • Jeff

      Sorry for your loss. What type of trumpet do you play? I play a 1980 Bach Strad model 37.

    • **it Happens

      It sucks that you became another victim of this idiot Burkhart’s crimes and that you are put out the way that you are. It would be a nice gesture on the insurance company’s part if they would help you out, but the problem is that if they go outside your insurance coverage and help you out then they will have to help out everyone else for coverage they don’t have and didn’t pay for. So I really don’t see this happening. I can understand your frustration and stress over losing something you worked so hard to get. I understand that times are tough and you don’t have the funds to buy another car. But times are tough for everyone. I had to sell some things that meant a lot to me just so I could provide a decent Christmas for my kids. We all have to do what we have to do, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should get special favors, no matter what predicament they find themselves in after a situation like yours.

    • Meghan

      Sarah, did you try your local Crime Victims Board in California? If you filed a police report (which I’m assuming you did), you may be able to get a bit of help since you are a victim of a crime. I work at a victim services agency in NY… I hope you end up getting some help my dear!


  • Rolando Marin Jr.

    How is this even news? She didn’t have full coverage so of course it’s not covered.

    • Rolando Marin Jr.

      Wait…I’m sorry. I saw Sarah’s comment. I can see how it’s tricky with another car being set on fire then blowing up onto yours. I’d talk to an attorney.

  • John Jason Chun

    She did not buy the correct insurance. Sue the Landlord, not the Auto Insurance co.

    • Alpha Kenny Juan

      I doubt the landlord’s insurance policy would cover her car, unless she could prove the landlord’s negligence led to the car’s damage. I’ve had two cars stolen – a 1968 Camaro and a 1989 Toyota Camry – and both of them were found with damage. I had to take the hit both times since I didn’t have comp/collision, but I still think I’ve come out ahead by going without that insurance for my 24 years of driving. (I wasn’t insured at all for five years in the early ’90’s, but when they changed the law and connected insurance to car registration, and when I bought my house, I gave in and bought insurance.)

  • Mike

    Why is this even news? Liability insurance does not cover these types of incidents. No one plans for these things to happen, that is why you have insurance!

  • null

    Last time I checked, fire and theft can be bought without collision and it is dirt cheap.

  • Bob Theduck

    Sue the arsonist. Maybe he has some money. Take him to small claims court.


    Who Cares wanna be actress. You would not be so poor if you got a real job. Regardless of the moron arsonist you took the risk. Why is the headline about “insurance company won’t pay up? Missy actress read your policy. The headline should read PITY POOR ACTRESS CAN’T AFFORD FIRE INSURANCE AND CAR BURNS UP. Quit your Crying, Take the bus for a year or two and get a real job.

    • John

      Hey No Pity, what are you so angry about? You must be a real joy to be around. By the way, if you had read the article, you’d know she’s a musician, not an actress. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an actress.

    • sarah kramer

      i’ve thought not to even bother to reply to this… my, you are quick to judge and assume! first of all, the news puts whatever spin they choose on a story (and title), even if their intention is to help. i specifically told them this is not a pity case, and i am not fighting, blaming, or complaining about insurance. i also explained that i am a private childcare provider as well as a musician, and that i need my car for all of those jobs, including music. i have worked many jobs in my life… construction, historical restoration, house painting, barista, personal assistant, and more… all the while, working with young children in early childhood development/education, and yes, remaining true to myself and my passion as a musician, and always pursuing that as well. i have been a preschool teacher, and switched into private childcare. I have student loans for my training/education, and no job i’ve ever had has ever offered health ins., or a decent enough income to live beyond very basic survival. i road the bus here for years saving for a car… and ride a bicycle. the public transportation in los angeles is extremely limited. since i work for families in their homes, i will now not be able to get to all of them, as the buses don’t let out close enough, or at all hours, and the steep hills and such are too difficult and time consuming to head on foot. i have developed relationships with these children and their families, and do not want to suddenly abandon them. also, i barely survive as it is with no savings when i have a car. i am NOT asking for pity. i am NOT a “wanna be actress”. i offer myself in many ways in this life, accepting that my choices and my gifts are rewarded in other ways (other than high wages and health benefits). i have only done my best to remain positive and hopeful, and reach out (for myself and other victims of this crime) for any possible solution(s) in replacing what has been lost, which could be more than just a car (jobs). and by the way, i am a musician (you call me an actress)
      , and that is just as much a job as any other regardless of how you value it.

      • Alpha Kenny Juan

        Perhaps you could ask the parents of the children for whom you provide care to advance you some money to purchase a used Camry; you can find a decent Toyota Camry or Tercel for around $2000, maybe less.

      • ron g.

        I’m playing a violin!!1

      • Eric Kent

        Sarah I empathize with you. All I can say is to keep on doing what you are doing. Something is going to come up I wish I had an extra car to sell you I usually do but not now. There are good people in this world and i think I did read a post where someone offered to sell you a Honda dirt cheap. So what happened to you is wrong but that’s the way of this world. As I know you know. All the best to you.

  • Jesus Diaz - Giz

    Just like what Jose Hernandez always said “I never expect I could have hit anybody or I would have bought auto insurance.” Or Maria Gomez said “I have not been aware that I would have collected welfare for so long one day, or I would have found a job and paid income tax.”

  • Ossie

    Go after the guy who started the fire in small claims court. Attach his possessions and sell them.

  • Joel Lanuza

    Some of these commets make me wanna throw up seriously. Liabily does not cover much , U do take a risk in case something like this happens. She may be able to get money from a lawsuit if this guy has any money which I dont think he does. Most people cant afford full coverage so they have the minimum coverage required by law.

  • Joel Lanuza

    Comments* not Commets typo

  • travis

    insurance companies will use every excuse they can to not have to pay people bunch of filthy vermin

  • Lionel Brown

    More like ignorant bigot than white biker

    • Eric Kent

      @ Lionel Brown more like telling the truth Biker than ignorant. You go White Biker there are still some of us who are not afraid to speak up and say the truth. Not all of us have been intimidated by BS political correctness. It has been going on so long that the US has become a Spanish speaking country without a single shot having been fired. It is all part of redistribution of the wealth of this country and killing the middle class.

  • Seymour Insurance

    Why are you people writing these stupid comments? Through no fault of her own her car was damaged. Why do we have insurance for? It’s not her fault and her insurance company should pay up. It seems that First Knight Insurance is engaging in bad faith insurance and this woman should file a lawsuit against them for not honoring their contract.

  • Jim

    This is unfortunate for her, but she did not buy an insurance policy that covers this type of damage, therefore the insurance company does not need to pay. She bought liability insurance only. If she wanted to be protected against fire, she should have bought comprehensive insurance.

    I personally think the arsonist should have to pay for all the damage, but that will probably never happen.

  • Stella

    Yes, the headline is incendiary and inaccurate and yes, she didn’t have coverage for fire damage and shouldn’t be paid (which she acknowledges, she’s not whining) but I think the point here is that jerk Burkhart causing all these problems for people who, for whatever reason, are not equipped to recover financially from his ridiculous crimes. The problem begins and ends with him and people like him, who devote virtually all their time and energy costing other people money, time and peace of mind. I know him and his skanky mother don’t seem to have money, but they have property in Germany (where he is accused of setting a fire to their house there) and I think someone should go after them to pay back the people he hurt here. I’ll bet there is money there somewhere, seize that property even if the house on it is burned. Give the money to these victims.

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  • http://propertycloud.co.za/2012/01/hollywood-arson-victim-finds-her-insurance-company-wont-pay-up/ Hollywood Arson Victim Finds Her Insurance Company Won’t Pay Up - Property Cloud

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