Your homeowners insurance got dropped. Now what?
If your insurance carrier refused to renew your policy, don’t stress. It’s happening to more and more homeowners, particularly throughout California where wildfire losses are causing huge upheavals in the insurance industry.
Knowing you’re not alone may make you feel a little better - but it doesn’t help cover your house.
Here’s what will.
Aegis Homeowners Insurance
Aegis Insurance Market specializes in high-risk homes in Northern California.
We’re a Truckee-based independent broker who has built relationships with specialty insurers who have an appetite for homes that are considered “high-risk” for fire damage.
For almost two decades, we’ve been covering high-risk homes in California.
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When other insurance companies say no, we refuse to leave homes and families unprotected.
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Here’s what you need to know about high-risk homes, non-renewals, and why all insurers aren’t equal when it comes to covering your home.
Wildfires are Changing the Insurance Landscape in California
Back-to-back severe wildfire seasons in California have cost billions in insurance losses.
This makes insurers more cautious about writing policies in California, particularly in “high-risk” areas.
Both 2017 and 2018 had a greater number of fires than the running 5-year average. To put it in perspective, compare the direct losses for homeowners and farm-owners in 2018 vs 2016:
- 2016 direct losses: $4.2 billion
- 2018 direct losses: $16 billion
While some large insurers were able to weather the storm, other, smaller insurers weren’t.
Many had no choice but to go out of business because of losses.
Others are recovering and adjusting to the new normal of California wildfires by tightening underwriting guidelines and increasing rates.
In other words, many Californians are now finding themselves either without homeowners insurance or paying a hefty premium to keep their coverage.
“Our insurance company re-classified our area from zone 6 to zone 10. Our insurance went up 85% over last year, which was already double what it was in 2015. They’ve had no claims from me for over 30 years ... we bust our rears to keep our 5 acres cleared.” - Donna T., Northern California homeowner.
Insurers Have the Right to Drop Your Coverage
It doesn’t feel fair, but insurers do have the right to drop your homeowners insurance.
At the end of your policy period, both you and your insurer have the right to not renew the policy.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve paid every premium payment on time, never filed a claim, and been diligent about minimizing your fire risk around your home. If your insurer decides you’re too risky - they can drop you (non-renew you policy) for any reason.
1 in 4 Californian’s at Risk for Wildfire
More than 25% of California homes are at moderate to extremely high risk of being ravaged in an annual wildfire.
The number of California homes and properties at risk of wildfire threat has reached nearly 7 million, according to a Villanova University study published in August 2018.
That’s because more and more homes are built each year in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI): areas where homes are built near or among wildland vegetation.
The WUI is the fastest growing land-use type in the United States.
And the riskiest.
Wildfires burn more frequently in the WUI and are most difficult to fight there.
Understanding Homeowners Insurance NonRenewals
More and more insurers are issuing nonrenewals to homes at high risk for wildfire. Here’s what you need to know to keep your home covered.
Read Blog >>
Is Your Home Considered High-Risk?
CALFIRE uses a Fire Hazard Severity Zone model developed by scientists at the U.C. Berkeley Center for Research and Outreach as the basis for evaluating fire hazard in local areas.
CALFIRE has created a list of cities deemed high or very high risk; see if your city made the list.
The Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) maps are used by:
- Developers to determine where ignition resistant building materials will be required for new construction.
- Homeowners to identify properties that will require defensible space maintenance.
- Real estate agents and sellers who will be required to disclose natural hazards at the time of a property sale.
FHSZ maps can influence land use decisions, property values, and, yes, insurance rates.
How to Insure Your High-Risk Home
If your home is one of the millions of properties in California deemed “high-risk”, you have options for insurance.
If you’ve been dropped by your insurance company or find yourself facing larger and larger premium payments to keep your existing coverage, you’re not powerless.
The secret to finding affordable homeowners insurance for your high-risk home is finding the right insurer.
Because not all insurance companies are created equal.
Like we mentioned before, some insurers specialize in high-risk homes. These insurers are prepared to cover your home, no matter where in California you live.
At Aegis Insurance Markets, we know which insurers have an appetite and willingness to cover high-risk homes.
We’re located in Truckee, in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas. Our beautiful mountain home has seen its share of wildfires over the years, so we know firsthand the challenges that come with living in the WUI. In fact, we’re one of the cities listed by CALFIRE as high or very high risk ourselves.
We’re an independent broker, which means we have the freedom to find the best price and coverage for your home across multiple insurers.
We refuse to leave homeowners uncovered, no matter where you live.
If you’ve been dropped by your insurer in the aftermath of devastating wildfires in California, don’t worry.
Call us at (800) 579-6369 and ask us how Aegis home insurance can protect the home you love against future fires.
Or request a quote and let one of our independent agents see if you can get coverage for your home that’s more dependable and more affordable.
Getting dropped by an insurer isn’t the end of the line. It may be just the thing you need to get the right insurance in place through Aegis, instead.