Insurance companies increasingly drop homes throughout San Diego County as fire risks rise

Fire season is underway in san diego and homeowners are struggling to find affordable insurance that's because insurance companies are dropping policies in areas with high risk of wildfires this has been a problem for many of the county's rural areas but now it's affecting neighborhoods from scripps ranch to hillcrest eye news.

Source has been following this story and editor mary plummer is joining us now with some insight on this issue thanks so much for joining us mary good morning all right so how many people are we talking about here how many how many folks in san diego are facing this issue because as we pointed out it used to be kind of more of a rule.

Thing in our deserts areas our mountain areas but boy scripps ranch that's right along the uh the 15 corridor well that's what's so fascinating about this data analysis that we did our reporter kami von cannell looked at california department of insurance data and she found that insurers dropped more than 84 000.

Policies in san diego county from 2015 to 2019 now that's the most recent data available given what we know about wildfire trends in california those numbers are likely even higher we spoke with a homeowner for this story his name is steve wallace he lives out in hamul.

These policy drops are a real worry for him because they were hit by a wildfire last year here's what he told us i think we're going to see a lot of people getting dropped on their insurance just due to you know what happened last year and what's happened in the past there's been several fires.

That have been through here in the last 20 to 30 years and we're such a high fire score i think we're a nine out here so they don't they don't want to take that liability and if they're able to they're going to drop whoever they can at the first chance they get yeah and mary what local communities are actually.

Seeing the biggest increase in insurance non-renewals well tomorrow out in east county certainly east county areas are getting hit by this places like alpine and valley center eric mentioned script ranch also hillcrest and claremont we're seeing seeing these problems play out.

We spoke with that homeowner in hamul who i mentioned and people all over the county are having this issue 3.7 of all homeowners policies in 2019 were dropped so these numbers are pretty big here across the county we're hearing from lots of folks that it's been an issue let's get into any.

Protections that these homeowners might have any laws that that protect against this and and if there are i'm sure there's even issues and some controversy with that as well well you know it's really interesting there was a state law that paused insurance non-renewals in areas hit by wildfires but it offered temporary.

Protections that actually ended this week as a result there are now 16 east county zip codes that no longer have protection because that law has expired so if you live out in east county you should really keep an eye on documentation coming from your insurance company.

Insurers will now be allowed to send notices of non-renewals again in terms of why it's harder to maintain fire insurance i can tell you that government officials have blamed insurance companies who are re-evaluating risk given all of these massive and major devastating wildfires that we've had in california.

Routinely now these past couple years you know you hear about government officials blaming this and that and but in the end these are the homeowners who are stuck in the middle is there anything that homeowners can do to fight back one really important tip is to act quickly if your fire insurance is.

Dropped we spoke with awkward experts i should say who say that you've got 75 days according to california law to terminate your insurance uh let me say that one more time california law allows for 75 days for you to get your insurance back if this happens the california insurance department also.

Has an online tool that can help you with your search we have all of these resources up on our website inewsource.org but the big tip here is really act fast so that you can secure insurance quickly enough if you lose it is there some kind of like federal state insurance that can pick up people who don't qualify anymore.

California does have a policy that's kind of a last resort option for people so if you're finding that insurance insurers won't cover you this is an option for you if you visit our website inewsource.org we've got all of these resources lined out but unfortunately a lot of a lot of homeowners in san diego county are.

Dealing with this so we hope you are not but if you are our website has a lot of resources yeah and those rates can get really expensive uh in the meantime too good reminder just to clear that defensible space because we are in that that fire season that's for sure mary thanks so much for uh straightening that out for us and for your tips on all of.

This we appreciate it thank you
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