Fire Insurance is Imperative in a Changing Climate
Wildfires devastated California last year, causing fatalities and injuries, destroying nearly 10,000 structures, and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
As the number of wildfires increasing in California, obtaining fire insurance becomes more difficult for homeowners. Insurance companies aren’t renewing policies for customers in high risk areas. Those that can find fire insurance are learning that premiums are going up.
According to the Los Angeles Times, as California wildfires grow larger and more intense, an increasing number of insurance companies are not renewing policies for customers who live in areas they deem too risky to cover. The state estimates that more than one million California homes are considered at high risk for wildfires.
California homeowner complaints about being dropped from fire insurance policies increased threefold in this decade, and complaints about premium hikes increased by 217%, reported the Times, citing a California Department of Insurance report.
What is fire insurance?
It’s property insurance against fire loss or damage by fire, smoke and water. Typically, a standard homeowners insurance policy covers fire damage to the home, structures on the property, and most of the family’s belongings. (The exception is specialty items, like art, jewelry, or a wine cellar that might need a rider for coverage.)
However, if you live in a high-risk area, chances are you may have to get additional coverage. You can get insurance through surplus lines – these are policies that protect against financial risks many insurance companies won’t take on.
As a last resort, the California FAIR Plan covers up to $1.5 million for a structure and its contents in high-risk properties, according to the Times.
What is replacement cost?
Replacement cost of your home covers the cost of a damaged home with a similar home, but some insurance companies can limit that. This can be tough on homeowners in a hugely damaged area, where insurers may also not cover additional expenses of bringing your damaged home up to new building codes. You can get an extended replacement cost endorsement, which covers costs beyond the policy limit to cover what a basic policy might not protect.
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Some content provided by Business Insider