Politics

Law could bar insurers from cancelling policies on surviving homes in fire disaster areas

Contractors hike up a steep street in the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura, capping gas lines at homes that burned in the Thomas Fire.
Contractors hike up a steep street in the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura, capping gas lines at homes that burned in the Thomas Fire.
Sharon McNary / KPCC

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Even if your home made it intact through a big wildfire, your insurance company could still cancel your coverage. The state legislature has now passed Senate Bill 824, by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park) that could ease the insurance hunt for those whose homes survived.

The added protection would be for homeowners in areas that are declared fire disaster zones and those in adjacent zip codes.  It says an insurance company may not cancel fire insurance or refuse to renew a policy on unburned homes within a year of a fire.

People whose homes were destroyed by fire already have one year of protection against cancellations and non-renewals. Another law also approved by the legislature would extend that protection to two years.

Both bills would become law if Gov. Jerry Brown signs them by the end of September.

State insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says he’s seen a 15 percent increase in fire policy non-renewals in areas adjacent to forests and wildland.