In California, 167,000 homeowners were unable to get their insurance policies renewed in 2018, which was an increase of 6% throughout the state. Furthermore, there was a 10% increase in the number of policies that were not renewed in areas likely to be impacted by wildfires. Of those who had their coverage terminated, 88,000 lived in areas where there was no active fire threat. State law does provide several protections for homeowners who have had their insurance policies cancelled.
For instance, they must be told at least 45 days in advance that their policies are not going to be renewed. Starting in July 2020, they must be told 75 days in advance that their policies will not be renewed. Furthermore, individuals who cannot get coverage through a private insurance company may be able to purchase a FAIR policy. Finally, those who were covered by an insurance policy when a fire struck are entitled to have their policies renewed for at least a year.
Generally speaking, insurance companies have the leeway necessary to cancel policies for almost any reason. However, those who do have coverage are generally entitled to have fire and arson insurance claims processed in a timely manner. Homeowners may also have the right to a detailed explanation as to why a claim was denied or only partially approved.
If a claim is denied, a homeowner may speak with an attorney about the denial. It may be possible for an attorney to obtain further clarification from an insurance provider as to why this happened. He or she may also be able to review a policy to determine if a claim should have been approved according to its terms. If necessary, an insurance dispute may be resolved in court or with the help of a mediator.