Over the past five years, California has experienced an average of over 3,600 fires and over 293,000 acres burned annually. It’s hard to imagine your home and family being affected by such a tragedy, but the unthinkable can happen. That’s why it’s more important than ever to prepare for the unexpected. To safeguard your assets, read on for everything you need to know about California wildfire insurance.
You can protect your home from wildfire and save money on your wildfire insurance policy when you install a Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system. For more information, contact us today for a free consultation.
Many people ask if homeowners insurance covers wildfires. The answer is yes, but not always, particularly for California residents in fire-prone areas. With the disappearance of a regular wildfire season, year-round risks are the new norm. As a result, many California residents are finding it increasingly difficult to find homeowners insurance policies that include wildfire coverage. In the face of increasing risk, more and more insurance companies are rejecting renewals for these policies, canceling policies, or omitting this type of coverage from written policies.
If you are facing a non-renewal notice or are struggling to find a homeowner’s insurance policy that includes wildfire coverage, a dedicated wildfire insurance policy can offer you peace of mind. While you should check the particulars of your specific policy, California wildfire insurance can include the following coverage options:
The coverage options above are by no means inclusive. If you find that your homeowners insurance policy offers little or no coverage for the categories above, consider investing in a dedicated wildfire insurance policy.
Here’s what you need to know when exploring your wildfire insurance coverage options as a California resident:
Your primary insurer is the first to respond to an incident or insurance claim, even if you have other policies that cover the same risk. Some primary insurance providers who offer wildfire coverage include Chubb, AIG, and PURE. In addition to insurance coverage, these providers may offer exclusive services to policyholders in some areas such as assessing your home’s wildfire preparedness, dispatching firefighting professionals to your property, and more.
When a standard insurance carrier chooses not to write a policy, surplus insurers are your second line of defense. These are also known as standalone policies. Surplus insurance may be the only option for people who live in high-risk areas where primary insurers may not write policies. Lloyd’s of London is one example of a surplus insurer for wildfire coverage.
The California FAIR Plan should only be considered when all of your options for wildfire insurance are exhausted. While these policies can be less expensive than alternatives, they often include very limited coverage options. This coverage was created by the state of California in response to the challenges faced by residents living in high-risk areas. Before applying, you must do your due diligence by exploring all your coverage options for both primary and surplus insurers. If the California FAIR Plan is your only option in your area, ask your provider if any add-on coverage options are available to help ensure more robust protection for your assets.
It is becoming increasingly common for insurance companies to either cancel policies or deny renewals for California residents. This can be a frightening event, but take comfort in the fact that you always have a right to wildfire insurance, no matter where you live in California. Here’s what you need to know regarding cancellations and non-renewals for wildfire insurance coverage:
Canceled or dropped home insurance policies occur when your insurer decides to write off a policy, leaving you without coverage. This practice is becoming increasingly common for residents in high-risk areas. In response, California has implemented a temporary ban on insurance companies dropping customers in areas affected by recent wildfires. This means that your insurer has a legal obligation to maintain your coverage. Insurers can’t drop coverage for a policy that has been in effect for at least 60 days.
Note that the temporary ban on dropped policies ends on December 5, 2020.
A non-renewal occurs when an insurance company decides that it will not renew your policy after its expiration date. Typically, an insurance policy term ranges from six months to one year. Wildfires, however, are now a year-round risk in California, and the practice of non-renewals is becoming increasingly common. As your existing policy term reaches its end, we highly recommend keeping a list of other potential insurance providers on hand. If you are caught off-guard by a non-renewal, having this list of potential providers could help to prevent gaps in coverage that might otherwise leave your assets exposed to risk.
If you’re considering a wildfire insurance policy, it’s important to examine your options to get the best possible rate. On average, policy deductibles can range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000—though policyholders in high-risk areas could face deductibles as high as $5,000 or more. Annual premium rates are continuing to rise and can vary greatly depending on several factors, including:
The cost of fire insurance has increased at an alarming rate for California residents since the 2017 and 2018 fires. According to ABC 10, some homeowners rates have increased by as much as 300% in 2019. The good news is that there some ways you can reduce your rate.
Research is critical when seeking the best possible rate for your wildfire policy. Explore your options to find policies with all the coverage options you require and compare rates from available providers in your area.
Some insurance providers may also provide discounts or premium credits for action on your part, like maintaining defensible space around your property or living in a Firewise Community. Another great money-saving tip is installing an exterior sprinkler system, like the Frontline Wildfire Defense System. In many cases, insurance companies offer lower rates for homeowners who have taken this extra preventative measure.
Now that you know the basics of California wildfire insurance, it’s time to get covered and protect your home. Depending on your insurer, you can expect a discount of 5-25% on your insurance premium when you install a Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system. Additional savings may also available when you choose coverage with one of our preferred insurance partners, which include PURE and Chubb. For those insured through our preferred partners, you may even be able to receive a discount on the installation of the Frontline system.
The Frontline Wildfire Defense exterior sprinkler system can protect your home with:
For more information on how Frontline Wildfire Defense can help safeguard your home or for information on wildfire insurance partners, contact us today for a free consultation.