Help for fire insurance nonrenewals

UPDATE: Watch video of Aug. 28 fire insurance town hall with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

After years of drought and extreme wildfires, many Placer County residents are reporting steep increases in their homeowner insurance premiums or even nonrenewals. While local governments don’t have any jurisdiction or control over insurance rates, we can continue working with our residents facing these issues to better advocate for solutions at the state and federal levels.

Within our authority, Placer County continues to press for solutions; coordinating closely with state legislators on California Senate Bill 824 (passed in 2018) to offer additional protections for policyholders, directly appealing to the Department of Insurance for help and launching an insurance nonrenewals survey in July 2019 to get the best data possible on the impacts in Placer to inform more advocacy. (See the survey results here.)

Meanwhile, the best thing we can do to improve the affordability and availability of insurance is to work together to reduce fire risk in our communities. Visit our wildfire preparedness page for more on how you can help.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara with Chairman Kirk Uhler and Supervisor Cindy GustafsonIn response to our Board of Supervisors’ letter July 9 appealing to the Department of Insurance to help Placer residents facing insurance nonrenewals, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara met with county leaders Aug. 7, 2019, to discuss solutions. At the meeting, Commissioner Lara announced that DOI will dispatch ‘strike teams’ to areas like Placer that are hit hard by nonrenewals to help connect affected residents with resources and coordinate with local governments in continuing to assess and respond to insurance issues. Learn more here about the strike teams and other ways DOI has pledged to help. 

Placer County hosted the commissioner for a fire insurance town hall in Auburn on August 28. You can watch a video of the meeting here and on Facebook

What to do if you receive a nonrenewal notice

  • Know your rights. Under state law, new policy and renewal decisions by insurance companies must be objectively related to loss exposure and can’t be unfairly discriminatory. They must also provide a minimum of 45 days notice of a nonrenewal and a specific reason.

  • If you believe your nonrenewal or rate increase is unfair, you are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the California Department of Insurance.

  • The Department of Insurance also offers a hotline to respond to consumer questions and investigate nonrenewals for compliance with the law. You can reach the hotline at 800-927-4357.

  • Visit the Department of Insurance’s ‘Top Ten Tips for Finding Residential Insurance’ webpage.

  • The United Policyholders nonprofit group also offers resources that could help with securing a new policy. (United Policyholders is not affiliated with or endorsed by Placer County.)