California homeowners located in areas most vulnerable to wildfires are finding it increasingly difficult to find or afford wildfire insurance, according to a December 2017 report by the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
Since wildfires in the state claimed 3,000 structures including 1,700 homes in September 2015, CDI has seen a rise in complaints from homeowners in high-risk areas that insurance has been unaffordable or difficult to obtain.
Compounding the problem further, in October, wildfires ravaged the northern part of the state, damaging or destroying 14,700 homes and 728 businesses totaling $9 billion insured damages (and counting), in what the report deemed “the most destructive fires in the history of the state, in terms of the number of structures destroyed.” Moreover, the expansive Southern California “Thomas fire” in December was recorded as the state’s largest ever, scorching 273,000 acres and claiming around 1,000 structures, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“More and more homeowners who cannot afford insurance may decide to go uninsured, risking their life savings and ultimately seeking relief from the state and federal governments,” the report warned.
According to the report there are 3.6 million California homes located in the “wildland–urban interface” (WUI) — or areas built close to land vulnerable to wildfires — and 1 million of those homes are “high” or “very high” risk. It’s in these areas where homeowners are facing rising premiums or renewal issues with their insurers, the report said. CDI recommended a new legislative framework to better regulate the wildfire-risk models used by insurers and…