VENTURA (CBSLA) — Many of the people who lost their homes did not see them burn, they could only watch from a distance and hope their home survived.

Some were allowed back in to see what was left. Many others are still waiting. On Monday, military police with the California National Guard stood watch as they are not allowing anyone into  some Ventura neighborhoods that lost many  homes.

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From the air, the scope of the damage is clear. In all, more than 1000 structures are lost or damaged.  Many of the homes, were destroyed in this latest round of wildfires, nearly 800 in the Thomas Fire alone.

Connie Kehr considers herself one of the lucky ones.

“It has a lot of smoke damage but it’s standing,” Kehr said.

Kehr is a Farmers Insurance agent who finds herself looking at an insurance claim from the other side, this time as a homeowner in need of help.

“So you probably know more than most about the process, but it’s still difficult isn’t it?” CBS2’ Randy Paige asked.

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“It’s very difficult, frightening to leave and I honestly didn’t think I’d see my house again or anything in it,” Kehr said. “The best thing you can do right now is get your claim filed.”

Rebekah Nelson works for the USAA Insurance company which serves members of the military and their families.

She offers this advice to fire victims trying to navigate the road back: “Most of the carriers are inundated with phone calls right now so if you can do so on their mobile app or online, that’s going to be the fastest and easiest way to do so,” Nelson said.

Nelson says when you return home, and it‘s safe, photograph the debris or destroyed items to help construct an inventory of what was lost. Save receipts for all fire related expenses. When it comes time to rebuild, make sure your contractors are qualified, licensed and insured, be wary of low bids or contractors asking for a lot of money up front, and don’t make permanent repairs until your claims adjuster has assessed the damage.

“We know they’re not even being allowed back into their homes yet so for any items you’re having to spend money on keep those receipts,” Nelson said.

Federal resources may become available for people who did not have insurance but that may take sometime to kick in.

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Insurance experts will be available Tuesday at Ventura Community College to assist people with claims.