Southern California's recent mudslides and wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged many more. For the victims, rebuilding and finding temporary housing can be expensive. Insurance can help cover some costs, but it usually doesn't pay for everything.
California Sen. Bill Dodd introduced a bill in the state legislature to improve insurance for victims of natural disasters, like the recent wildfires that hit his district in Napa.
"This is spawned, of course, after the North Bay wildfires in my own community, where 151 of my neighbors' homes burned down," he said.
The bill would make three big changes:
- Require that policies can be renewed for two years after a disaster (current law is one year)
- Guarantee living expense coverage for three years after a disaster (current law is two years)
- Make it easier to use unused coverage in different areas (such as using unused living expense coverage on rebuilding)
Extended living expense coverage can be helpful to renters too, Dodd said, because finding a new, affordable rental can take time when others displaced by a disaster are also looking for a new place to live.
All the recent natural disasters in the state might make some Californians worry about just getting insurance coverage, but Dodd says he doesn't think insurance companies will stop giving coverage in the state anytime soon. He also said he planned to get feedback from insurers about his new bill.
"It [California] is a big market for insurance companies, and while I don't think they're going to go away, yes it is a concern... So I think that underscores the importance for us to work closely with the insurance companies on these initiatives."