Have you or someone you known recently lost your wildfire insurance? Many members of the community are being notified that their premiums are on the rise, or that their policies are no longer being underwritten. The California Department of Insurance has several resources to help homeowners and renters compare coverage, find an agent or broker, access insurance company profiles, file a consumer complaint, as well as contact a Consumer Hotline for additional assistance.
Resources do exist for high-risk homeowners living in the Urban Interface who are having difficulty obtaining insurance coverage for wildfire. Consumers in high risk fire areas who are unable to find standard home insurance can purchase fire insurance through the California FAIR Plan, which was created by the Legislature and Governor in 1968 to provide fire insurance where it is not otherwise available.
The FAIR Plan was established by legislation for consumers who are unable to find coverage in the voluntary insurance market. These consumers can turn to the FAIR Plan to insure their home, property and contents, even if they are turned down by traditional homeowners' insurance companies. As part of the California Insurance Commissioner's Order in early 2016, a consumer is no longer required to present three declinations from insurers in the open market before they can turn to the FAIR Plan for coverage. This rule created an artificial barrier to obtaining coverage under the FAIR Plan and no longer exists.
The FAIR Plan provides basic property insurance as a last resort to consumers unable to secure coverage in the voluntary market. Consumers looking for coverage through the FAIR Plan can work with the FAIR Plan directly, but are strongly encouraged to find a broker who is registered to write FAIR Plan business to apply for coverage. Currently, there are approximately 6,600 brokers registered with the FAIR Plan. The FAIR Plan provides access to a consumer-friendly database on its website where users can easily find registered brokers near them who can help them apply for coverage. Visit the California FAIR Plan website, or review the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.