The California Insurance Dilemma

With the kids back in school and a focus on the Fall, I wanted to address one of the biggest challenges in California real estate, insurance.  With national companies like State Farm and AllState deciding to no longer write new policies and Farmers limiting the number of new customers it will take on, it has been a challenge for both buyers and sellers to secure a policy that matches the requirements of their lender. These major insurers have pulled out of the market in our State largely from the risk of mass claims due to wildfires and earthquakes. The insurance companies have tried to negotiate with the California insurance commissioner to raise their corporate rates to match their projected expenses, but the state has not changed their position.

For those of us that are still insuring our current homes, you should reach out to your current carrier and make sure that your premium is not going to be significantly higher on renewal. You will also want to look at the value of your home and make sure you are insuring to the correct amount, as replacement cost has gone up by leaps and bounds in our inflationary market. And, if you are with a company that has stated they are no longer insuring beyond the current premium period, Safeco for example in large parts of Berkeley and Oakland, you will need to start shopping.

In a real estate transaction, if you are thinking about buying a new home, you need to know what the insurance premium will be, along with the amount of coverage, when you write an offer. And, as a seller, it is important to understand what buyers may be going through and what the insurance premium will be.

Please reach out with any questions on this topic, a home value evaluation or for a referral for an insurance broker.


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