We are seeing the impact of rising property insurance costs first hand.
Before making a purchase offer on a home as part of their due diligence this week, our buyer was recently quoted $1,000 per month in home insurance premium, the cheapest quote so far is $500 per month on a property in Bonsall (North San Diego).
We’ve had our own State Farm home insurance just renewed this month (luckily we are existing customers, since they no longer write new business in the State of California) albeit with an increased rate.
A friend was asked to make modifications to their property before being insured, only to have those changes (trim trees, etc) made and their insurance still be cancelled, so they got insurance of the last resort through the California Fair Plan as a temporary solution.
Another agent told us yesterday that her home insurance was cancelled at renewal. But she was able to find a reasonable insurance coverage by working with an insurance brokerage.
What to do
If you are an existing homeowner, work closely with a knowledgeable insurance broker/ agent on coverage to protect you with the right type of insurance.
If you are purchasing a home, check for the risk factor of the property you are considering before purchasing. Try online tools like RiskFactor or ClimateCheck to get a general idea of the ratings as far flood, fire, wind, and heat risks.
Consult with your home insurance agent/broker for specific property insurance coverage before making an offer on a property.
In California real estate transactions, a natural hazard disclosure (NHD) report must be given to you for review during your due diligence period. Read this report thoroughly to understand the property’s risks. This NHD report will identify if a property has a high wildfire risk, flood risk, etc.
If you are purchasing a home, even before making an offer, it is essential to check for insurability on the home first before making an offer and get several quotes.
Getting home insurance is getting more challenging in some areas/cities/neighborhoods.
Getting a quote does not guarantee that the insurance company has a binding contract to insure the home.
Unfortunately, it is possible to get insurance and have it be cancelled. Frustrating right?
California does have the California Fair Plan, which is a temporary solution and is a last resort home insurance option.
Also, work with your insurance agent closely, pay attention to premium quote coverage details.
Unfortunately, home insurance costs have become quite expensive for certain properties in California.
For those who need a mortgage to buy a home, rising insurance costs can potentially greatly affect one’s purchase decision and loan qualification ability.
Choosing the location of your home is imperative.
Some areas in San Diego County have limited or high insurance options such as inland places like Ramona, Valley Center, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Mount Laguna, and nearby popular nearby second home locations like Big Bear.
Our insurance agent told us that existing homeowners who are still covered in California before State Farm stopped issuing new policies here, have seen a significant premium increase of 50% to 70%.
If the home is not located in the typical wildfire prone area such as the ones above, does it back to open/ wild land?
Assess the home itself and location
Is it near wild land, or does it back to a wild land area? Yes, it may have nice open views, but it can be challenging to insure or it may come at a higher premium rate.
Pay attention to the landscaping of the home. Does it have a lot of potential wildfire fuel such as dry shrubs, wood chips that need to be removed?
What is the roof material like?
If the roof is due to be replaced, consider more fire-safe materials like metal, concrete, or tile roof.
Take heed of the wildfire preparedness tips below.
Here are Wildfire Preparedness Tips
Before a wildfire threatens your area…
In and around your home
- Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
- Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Learn more about the basics of defensible space on the Firewise website.
- Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
- Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
- Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
- Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
- Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
- Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
- Learn more about how to protect your home and property at www.firewise.org.
The challenges in insuring California homes related to wildfire risks from climate change and rising costs for both insurers and insured is still unfolding.
This property insurance issue could have far-reaching effects in the California real estate market, please be sure to work with your team of trusted professionals and get the best guidance and take the right course.
We are here to help and guide you make the right decisions in your California real estate move.
Contact us for more information.
Please call or text DreamWell Homes Realty at this telephone number 760-798-9024.