POLLOCK PINES, Calif. — Residents in the Northern California foothills are continuing to deal with fallout from destructive winter storms, and some are realizing their insurance policies weren't enough to cover the damages.
Marlene Ruth, owner of Ruth's Dolls & Memories, says she's scarcely been able to bring herself to look at the damage caused by snow caving in the roof.
“This is all going to get packed away I don’t know what I am going to do, I can’t sleep at night. I just think 'what am I going to do? How am I going to be able to get out of here?'" said Ruth.
She says she's invested over $1 million to collect 6,000 dolls and spend eight years at the Pollock Pines location. Ruth has been collecting since 1968.
Some dolls are salvageable while others will only be remembered in a photo album.
“I made 75 dolls for the museum, I made all their clothes what a wonderful life,” said Ruth.
Unfortunately, her insurance will most likely not cover the damage.
Like many people in the area, she has California Fair Plan. After the Caldor Fire in 2021 when her previous insurer canceled her coverage, the only option was coverage set up by the state but it primarily covers damage caused by wildfires.
“What the Fair Plan offers is limited to have that coverage that you think of in a traditional policy for water damage and liability you have to purchase an additional policy, the Department of Insurance doesn’t think that makes sense and it’s something we are working on,” said Michael Soller with the Department of Insurance.
A spokesperson from the California FAIR Plan Association says they work to give Californian's "the peace of mind they deserve" and the FAIR Plan "exists to provide insurance to property owners who are unable to obtain coverage in the voluntary or surplus lines markets and serves as a temporary safety net for consumers."
Something Ruth admits she didn’t understand. She says she didn't know owners in the area had to have a "wrap around" policy to cover more than just wildfires.
She said paying $3,000 a year for her business, plus the additional cost for her home she couldn’t afford the bigger wrap around policy.
She is now worried she may have to file for bankruptcy as well.
Unfortunately, Ruth doesn’t believe she will be able to reopen at this location, but she does want to stay near the area.
To learn more about how Ruth is trying to recover her doll store, click HERE.