Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.
California wildfires are out of control, causing many homeowners to lose their property insurance.
I was out of town last week on vacation with my family. We originally planned to stay in South Lake Tahoe, but because of concerns about the Tamarack Fire, we changed our plans and stayed locally in the Santa Cruz area. As you can imagine, the fire has devastated the local communities in that area. My heart goes out to those who have been impacted by this tragedy. I also want to give a huge thank you to the brave firefighters, risking their lives to contain this fire.
What struck a note and prompted me to make this video is the effect these wildfires are having on their victims and also California homeowners in general, especially obtaining property insurance and specifically fire insurance. Going back to the Napa Sonoma Fire in 2018, it seems like since that horrible event, California has been experiencing more and more wildfires each year. Experts are now saying California’s fire season is starting earlier in the year and the overall length of the season is longer.
If your property is located in a high or extremely high fire zone area, it’s possible your property insurance, fire insurance portion could be impacted in three different ways.
- One- Your premium will go up substantially
- Two- Your fire portion of your insurance is no longer available
- Three- Your property insurance is dropped completely
Okay. There’s a lot to discuss here. Why don’t we first start with, “Why are we having so many wildfires?” Well, there are a few reasons.
- One- Climate change. California has always been prone to droughts and we are in or heading towards one now.
- Two- Forest management. The federal government has been criticized over the years for mismanaging our national forests.
- Three- The human element. People can start fires, especially as we choose to live in more remote forest areas. It can also be Mother Nature. Apparently, the Tamarack Fire was caused by a lightning strike.
This brings me to, “Are you located in a high or extremely high fire zone area?” Now you may be thinking, “Hey, I live in the Tri-Valley area, not Tahoe or Sonoma. So this will not affect my property insurance.” You may be wrong.
Please access Cal Fire’s website: CAL FIRE
You’ll see several counties that have cities that are located in high to extremely high fire zone areas that can affect their property insurance premiums. Pleasanton and Danville, both have neighborhoods rated high fire zone areas. So clearly these cities in the Tri-Valley area have some high fire zone areas to be concerned about.
Now, what if your homeowner’s property insurance rates for fire have increased greatly or they’ve dropped you completely? Then you’ll need to shop it out. There are still insurance companies providing homeowners with property insurance policies for homes in high fire areas. What can be helpful is, inquire with your neighbors what homeowners’ property insurance policy they have. And are they happy with it? This brings me to those buyers who are considering purchasing a home in the foothills or mountain areas.
Before you start looking, and especially before you put an offer on a home, make sure you verify if it’s in a high fire zone area. I would also reach out to your insurance agent so you can be advised on the effect of the home’s property insurance in the area you are considering moving to. If you do see a property you’re interested in, that’s already on the market, find out if the seller or listing agent has ordered the NHD, which is the Natural Hazard Disclosure Report, and if it’s available for review. The report is generated by a third-party company. In the report, they will list all hazards that can affect a property’s value. In this report, you’ll find zones for earthquakes, etc. One of them is high fire to extremely high fire zones. Well, that wraps up this BLOG.
Please send me (email/text) Warren your thoughts on this subject and especially if you already had some issues with your insurance company.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Please let me know if you have any questions. Warren
Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!
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