Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara stops insurance companies, yet again, from abandoning homeowners affected by California wildfires.

Commissioner Lara has issued a one-year moratorium on insurance companies from non-renewing or cancelling insurance policies, in the counties of Siskiyou, Plumas, and Lassen. This protection assists more than 25,000 homeowners impacted by the Lava Fire and the Beckwourth Complex Fire.

This is the third year that Commissioner Lara has implemented the moratorium law, beginning with the 2018 SB 824 to give temporary relief from non-renewals to residents living within or close to a declared wildfire disaster.

The Department of Insurance works with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to identify wildfire perimeters for moratorium areas and for any fires where there is a declaration of a state of emergency.

Go to the Department of Insurance website to see if your ZIP Code is included in this moratorium.

Separate from the insurance moratorium support, the government is asking residents and business owners who suffered losses in the designated areas to begin applying for assistance by registering online at by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY.

California wildfires and homeownership

Fire season is far from over. Residents of the city of South Lake Tahoe were ordered to evacuate Monday as the Caldor Fire raged through northern California.

As global warming continues to worsen over the next decade, natural disasters like California’s wildfires will continue, and even increase. These types of insurance moratoriums have become increasingly common in the recent years and have proven to be a necessity during worsening fire seasons.

Wildfires have become the norm now, so it’s important for legislators to continue to provide insurance protection for the ones who will be affected in the future. Real estate professionals also need to be prepared to answer questions and make recommendations on wildfire safety for both homebuyers buying in high-risk areas and sellers who may need to make fire safety improvements before selling.

Prospective homebuyers will first learn if their new home is located in a fire hazard zone by receiving a completed Natural Hazard Disclosure (NHD). [See RPI Form 314] Sellers may need to consider certain types of landscaping to reduce a home’s chances of being destroyed in a wildfire. Something as simple as choosing the best fire-resistant plants and materials can make a difference.

firsttuesday readers: stay tuned for more news as the wildfire season progresses.