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Week of Feb. 3rd- California homeowners face higher insurance costs after fires

February 3, 2019

California's new insurance commissioner, Ricardo Lara, delivered bad news earlier this week to Golden State homeowners about wildfire insurance losses and policy premiums. Lara said estimated insurance costs for the 2018 wildfires, which devastated towns such as Paradise and Redding and caused massive destruction in Malibu, had risen by $2.3 billion to $11.4 billion -- a 25 percent increase and a record for the state.

Total losses from California's more than 8,000 wildfires exceeded $18 billion last year. But the steep insured losses also mean higher premiums for homeowners and businesses, including the 3.5 million homes in harm's way from future blazes.

Just how much will rates rise? If a December 2017 report from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) -- issued before the state's worst fire year -- is any indication, those who previously paid $800 a year for a policy could now be charged up to $5,000. Insurers said additional hikes are inevitable.  Read more.

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