Wakeup call for homeowners

Can no longer take insurance for granted

This week’s newspaper contains an article regarding the difficulties local homeowners are facing in trying to insure their properties. Interviews with several local insurance agents reveal that existing homeowners are receiving nonrenewal notices from their insurance carriers, while those hoping to buy a home are finding it even more difficult to buy insurance.

It’s quickly developing into a crisis. The insurer of last resort, the state’s California FAIR Plan, is so overrun with requests that it too has declined to insure properties.

The issue is not unique to Plumas County, nor is it limited to Northern California. Property owners across California who live in areas deemed to be vulnerable to wildland fires are facing the same fate. Increasingly insurance carriers are relying on Google maps and topography to determine which properties to insure. At times, it can seem arbitrary, with an insurer covering one house on a street but not another.

Ultimately, the issue will have to be resolved because the ramifications are too widespread. It’s a double-edged sword. Since we in the rural north state aren’t the only ones impacted there will be more legislative will to address the issue, but it also means that insurance companies may take even more Draconian measures in the meantime as their losses mount. All we can do for now is pay our premiums promptly and do what we can to make our properties more fire safe so that they pass inspection.