SAN DIEGO — Fire season is year-round in California and insurance companies are looking hard at homeowner coverage, specifically, non-renewals.
Letters are showing up in mailboxes again, with an insurance company claiming that someone's home is too great a risk of wildfire, so your insurance isn't being renewed in 2021.
Carol Frank has lived in her Scripps Ranch house for 45 years; and yes, there are many trees and shrubs beyond the back fence, but when her letter arrived, she was angry and disappointed.
"I got a cancellation, which was shocking, called my agent, Aaron Farmer, and said, 'What are we gonna do?' He put me in with another company," Frank said.
Her agent told us insurance companies paid out billions of dollars in claims in recent years; some are cutting their losses; others are still in the market.
"So where one company may be pulling back, another may still be interested, potentially at a higher rate and then when no company will do it, we have other options: either a Lloyds of London-type product or maybe the California Fair Plan," Aaron Farmer with Jump Insurance Services said.
That's expensive and very restrictive.
The state's Department of Insurance initially issued moratoriums on non-renewals after 235,000 California homeowners lost insurance coverage in late 2019.
"That's happening even when people are doing things to safeguard their homes, safeguard their property and the Insurance Commissioner is very concerned and wants to see insurance companies recognizing home mitigation, home hardening, fire prevention," California Department of Insurance deputy commissioner Michael Soller said.
We see more homes now with closed-in eaves, brush cleared away to provide defensible space... but nothing is foolproof. And insurance is an absolute must.
WATCH RELATED: Scripps Ranch woman has homeowners insurance cut due to 'wildfire risk' (Dec. 2019)