Canceled Insurance? Tips from Insurance Commissioner | TheUnion.com

Canceled Insurance? Tips from Insurance Commissioner

Virginia Gompertz

During the Aug, 22nd Nevada County Insurance Town Hall meeting, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara gave sage advice to the standing-room-only crowd of over 200 attendees.

Obviously, NC residents are incredibly concerned about insurance cancellations. So is the Insurance Commissioner.

Why is insurance being canceled?

“The confluence of natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, floods, etc., have increased insurance rates,” explains Lara. “Ten out of 20 most destructive wildfires occurred in the last 3 years.” Homes in the Wildland Urban Interface, WUI, also affect insurance rates.

Insurance companies are shifting to technology to rate a home’s risk. They are using satellite imagery, not an individual property evaluation. They consider slope, fuel load, access and other criteria. This means neighbors must work together and participate in fuels reduction so that you change the satellite imagery around you.

Right now, there is not a set criterion for insurance companies to rate you. One insurance company may have a list of 15 items, while another insurance company uses ten.

There’s no guarantee that if you do the work, an insurance company will keep you.

This is not fair to you, the consumer, and the Insurance Commissioner office hears you and is proposing legislation to change this.

What can you do today?

The Insurance Commissioner office has set up a HOTLINE where you can talk to a live person to investigate your questions and respond accordingly: 1-800-927-4357 or http://www.insurance.ca.gov. (If you get a message, the average call-back time is two minutes.)

You have a right to appeal a risk score. Insurance companies can not renew you for no reason. And, they cannot drop you during your policy period.

Currently there are 50 insurance carriers who are writing insurance. Contact the hotline to find out more.

Other things you can do to find insurance:

— Keep calling brokers. Some brokers still carry insurance companies, while others don’t.

— Talk with others. There are companies writing policies. You have to do your homework, and find them.

— Research The California Fair Plan 800-339-4099 or http://www.cfpnet.com. According to their website, “The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (“FAIR”) Plan was created in July 1968 following the 1960’s brush fires and riots. It is an insurance pool established to assure the availability of basic property insurance to people who own insurable property in the State of California and who, beyond their control, have been unable to obtain insurance in the voluntary insurance market. There is no public funding, or taxpayers’ monies involved. The FAIR Plan is not a state agency.”

Because this can be more costly, use this as a last resort for fire insurance.

Also, work with a good broker because you will need a companion policy for rest of your insurance needs (liability, umbrella, etc). The CA Fair Plan will come out & inspect your house and the vegetation around it. CA Fair Plan covers up to $1.5M. This will increase to $3M in April 2020, according to Lara.

Other Important info:

— Insurance agents warn us to recalculate rebuild costs carefully. Make sure you’re covered.

— Itemize your house and its contents. The CA Dept of Insurance has a Home Inventory Guide: Call 800-927-4357 or visit their website at http://www.insurance.ca.gov and click on “Wildfire Ready & Resilient,” then Click on the “Home Inventory Guide.”

— Photograph or Video your home and its contents. Download the free app “MYHOME SCR.APP.BOOK” on your phone. This is from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Upload images of your stuff including bar codes and serial numbers. You can save to an external drive or upload to the cloud for safe keeping.

Get going; now is the time to prepare for Wildfire.


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