2017 and 2018 hold the record for the costliest fire claim losses in the history of the State. Devastating wildfires, mudslides and losses due to water damage from failing pipes in homes.Insurance carriers are starting to take drastic measures and this could affect you significantly. What does this mean?
- Premiums are on the rise state-wide, especially in high hazard areas.
- Some insurers are refusing to renew policies for people in fire or mudslide danger areas. An estimated 3.6 million California homes are in what’s called the wildlife urban interface, and of those, over 1 million homes are at high or very high risk of fire.
- New home policies are increasingly difficult to secure in fire or mudslide danger areas. Parts of the state are being reclassified from safe to high-risk.
- Many victims discovered they were underinsured.
The good news about rates is that historically the Department of Insurance hasn’t allowed huge rate increases all at once. But you can expect to see rates increasing year after year. This will be the new norm in California Homeowners Insurance. Some insurance companies have also instituted additional rate surcharges for fire danger areas. That can really have an impact on pricing.
What can you do?
- Pay your premium on time and consider setting up EFT or recurring credit card payment. If you miss a payment, insurance companies can elect not to reinstate your policy and you may find it even harder to find replacement coverage.
- Don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to a marginal rate increase.
- Speak to your trusted advisor about your property to determine if the hazard zones affect you.
- Understand your policy and make sure you have sufficient limits to fully rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.
- Most importantly, engage with an Advisor with experience and many relationships with top insurers who can offer a broad spectrum of the market.