Options for Canceled Fire Insurance
Each month, the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities reports and discusses the latest findings on canceled fire insurance in our area. I’m the Secretary for the Coalition, and have compiled the following information for your benefit.
Why is Insurance Being Canceled?
The devastating fires over the past few years have wiped out 15 years of reserve funds. The insurance companies try to maintain as much business as possible but can’t keep writing new policies. Nevada County is in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and in a high fire danger area. Some insurance companies also have a set of criteria to “rate” your property: vegetation around the home, house structure, typography, near a fire hydrant, near a fire station, etc. So, one carrier may cancel one property that rates poorly versus keeping another property that is rated better.
What can you do?
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— 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 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 and inspect your house and the vegetation around it. CA Fair Plan covers up to $1.5M.
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.
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