With the massive increase in wildfires throughout California, the Department of Insurance has adopted what is now an annual tradition of ordering insurance companies to refrain from policy cancellations and non-renewals in wildfire areas. This year is no exception. On August 19, 2021, the Department of Insurance issued a one-year moratorium on cancellations or non-renewals of fire policies in the areas affected by the Lava and Beckwourth Complex fires. More than 26,000 homes are affected, in Siskiyou, Lassen and Plumas counties. This area was already included in last year’s moratorium, but this new order buys those policyholders another year.
Commissioner Lara’s office has stated that he intends to issue a similar moratorium for the Dixie and Caldor fires, once the perimeters of those fires are better established. The Dixie fire is currently only 35% contained. The Caldor fire is currently not at all contained.
These moratoriums are temporary respites from the insurance industry’s practice of non-renewing homes that are in wildfire areas. For homeowners who do lose their insurance because of their location, the “option of last resort” is the California FAIR Plan. This plan offers bare-bones coverage for fire coverage only. The Department of Insurance ordered FAIR Plan to offer personal property coverage and liability coverage as well in 2019. The insurance industry has been fighting that, and in July 2021 a California superior court ordered FAIR Plan to comply. Where FAIR Plan will likely appeal that decision, the ability to access this expanded coverage may not actually happen for some time to come.
If this situation sounds at all familiar to you and you have had trouble dealing with your insurance company regarding your homeowner policy, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation at 800-446-7529 or use our online contact form.