Here’s the latest on California property insurance.
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today ordered a one-year moratorium on property insurance non-renewals and cancellations for properties impacted by the Smith River Complex fire and the Happy Camp Complex fire.
This helps property owners rebuild and recover from losses. To find out if your ZIP code is protected by the moratorium, click HERE.
Read more below.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Commissioner Lara orders protections for more than 15,000
Californians following Smith River and Happy Camp Complex fires
Mandatory one-year moratorium prevents homeowners insurance cancellations and non-renewals following Governor Newsom’s August 29 emergency declarations.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Helping consumers continue their recovery from wildfires, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today ordered insurance companies to preserve residential insurance coverage for more than 15,000 policyholders affected by fires in Del Norte County and Siskiyou County after Governor Gavin Newsom issued emergency declarations on August 29, 2023. The Commissioner’s Bulletin shields those living within the perimeters or adjoining ZIP Codes of the Smith River Complex fire and the Happy Camp Complex fire from insurance non-renewal or cancellation for one year from the date of the Governor’s August 29 emergency declaration regardless of whether they suffered a loss.
“Consumers affected by these recent wildfires need to have peace of mind that they have time to assess, rebuild, and recover, and not have the added pressure of worrying about their insurance. My number one priority is to protect California consumers,” said Commissioner Lara. “My moratorium Order is just one of the many ways that I am taking action to provide relief to homeowners while I continue to work with stakeholders and climate experts to address the root causes of these ever-intensifying natural disasters in order to prevent even greater losses.”
The Commissioner’s ability to issue moratoriums is a result of a California law he authored in 2018 while serving as state senator in order to provide temporary relief from insurance non-renewals and cancellations to residents living within or adjacent to a gubernatorial-declared wildfire disaster.
Since 2019, Commissioner Lara’s actions have protected nearly 4 million homeowners. Today’s order protects over 15,000 policyholders for one year, effective August 29, 2023. Consumers who were non-renewed prior to the emergency declaration date and are unable to obtain insurance or are dissatisfied with their current coverage should contact the California Department of Insurance for assistance in shopping for insurance.
Consumers can go to the Department of Insurance website to see if their ZIP Code is included in the moratorium. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or via chat or email at insurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is in violation of this law, or have additional claims-related questions.
Following Governor Newsom’s state of emergency declarations, the Department of Insurance partners with CAL FIRE and CalOES, pursuant to existing statute, to identify wildfire perimeters for mandatory moratorium areas. The Department of Insurance will continue to collaborate with CAL FIRE and CalOES to identify additional wildfire perimeters for any fires where there is a gubernatorial declaration of a state of emergency.
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- On August 29, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed two separate state of emergencies, one state of emergency covering Del Norte County due to the Smith River Complex fire and another state of emergency covering Siskiyou County due to the Happy Camp Complex fire.
- While existing law prevents non-renewals and cancellations for those who suffer a total loss in areas subject to a declared disaster, the 2018 law established protection for those living within or adjacent to a declared wildfire emergency whether they suffer a loss or not — recognizing for the first time in law the disruption that non-renewals cause in communities following wildfire disasters. Homeowners who suffered a total property loss have up to 24 months of protection from non-renewal or cancellation.
- Consumers can go to the Department of Insurance website to find the Commissioner’s Bulletin to see if their ZIP Code is included in this moratorium.
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