New California homeowners’ insurance and home hardening bill introduced

California homeowners insurance - person signing paper

The legislation would require mandatory policy issuance and create a residential grant program.

A new California homeowners insurance bill was introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) to require mandatory issuance of policies. It would also form a new grant program for residential home hardening for properties in areas with a sizeable wildfire risk.

Assembly Bill 1755 would require insurers to provide coverage to customers that have hardened their property.

Assembly Bill 1755 would require that California homeowners’ insurance companies must issue a policy to property owners in the state that have adequately taken “science-based actions” for hardening their property against their risk of wildfire. If this bill passes, it will become effective as of 2025.

If the bill passes, it will also form the Wildfire Protection Grant Program under the state’s Department of Insurance. This will involve the administration of grants as high as $10,000 for residential property owners. The funds will help to cover the costs associated with wildfire mitigation and home hardening. This bill is meant to help to overcome the growing trend in the state in which policies are being cancelled for residents with properties prone to wildfires.

California homeowners insurance - affordable coverage

The California homeowners insurance bill is meant to ensure residential property owners can afford coverage.

“It is time to stand up for California homeowners and tell insurance companies to stop exploiting the climate crisis for profit,” said Levine in a recent statement. “We have seen an unprecedented number of families across California lose their homeowners’ insurance at a time they need this protection the most. For families that do the right thing and take action to reduce their home’s risk to wildfire loss, there is no reason to deny them insurance coverage.”

Levine also went on to say that “The climate crisis is forcing us to rethink how and where we live and grow. Meeting this crisis will require insurance companies to do their part to protect homeowners and ensure that every California family has access to affordable, comprehensive insurance.”

Some California homeowners insurance companies have spoken out in opposition to the bill. For instance, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) vice president for state government relations Mark Sektnan said that “APCIA is reviewing the bill but we are opposed to any bill that mandates insurance companies provide insurance without adequate rates and without science-based verification the risk has been reduced.” He went on to say that efforts for the development of science-based standards are being made and that the bill falls short by leaving out the importance of community hardening, as hardening individual properties are limited in their benefit if other properties around them are not also hardened.

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