Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered insurance companies to preserve 209,881 residential property insurance policies held by wildfire survivors included in an October 22 emergency declaration, bringing the total statewide to 618,700 policyholders across 31 counties who have temporary protection from non-renewals or cancellations by their insurance companies.
The order includes the River Complex, French, Washington, Windy, KNP Complex, and Hopkins wildfires and protects those residential property insurance policyholders living within the perimeter or adjoining ZIP Codes of the declared wildfire disasters regardless of whether they suffered a loss.
Commissioner Lara’s ability to issue these residential insurance policyholder moratoriums is a result of a California law that he authored in 2018 while serving as state senator in order to provide temporary relief from non-renewals to residents living within or adjacent to a declared wildfire disaster. The Commissioner’s action is part of a comprehensive solution he is pursuing that includes increasing insurance protections and market competition to help protect consumers.
“The law gives wildfire survivors much-needed breathing room from having to immediately shop for insurance as they recover, while stabilizing the insurance market as well,” said Commissioner Lara. “This one year of protection gives these communities added incentive to protect their homes from future wildfire disasters. My Department and I will be there from day one of recovery until the job is done and communities are safer.”
The moratorium order follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s October 22 emergency declaration and gives protection from insurance company-initiated non-renewals and cancellations for one year for residential property insurance policies in 115 ZIP Codes within or adjacent to the established fire perimeter, including parts of Calaveras, Del Norte, Fresno, Humboldt, Inyo, Kern, Lake, Mendocino, Shasta, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Trinity, Tulare, and Tuolumne counties.
The Commissioner’s previous moratorium orders followed Governor Newsom’s July 16, July 23, August 5, August 10, August 17, August 30, September 7, and September 27 Declarations affecting parts of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Glen, Humboldt, Kern, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties.
Consumers can go to the California Department of Insurance website to see if their ZIP Code is included in an active moratorium. Consumers should contact the Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or via chat or email at insurance.ca.gov if they believe their insurance company is in violation of this law, or have additional claims-related questions.
"Commissioner Lara and his team are using every tool in their toolbox to help California homeowners keep their homes insured during these very challenging times,” said Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders. “This latest non-renewal moratorium will be a financial lifeline to hundreds of thousands of households and it sends the right signal to insurers to stay the course while we work to reduce wildfire risk and restore the home insurance marketplace.”