By Carl Wahl

Has your homeowner’s insurance policy premium been skyrocketing? Or has your policy been canceled? If so, have you been having difficulty finding a new insurance carrier? This seems to be the new normal for many Californians. A number of carriers have either stopped issuing new policies or are in the process of closing down businesses in our state. The main culprit is increased wildfire risk.

The good news? There is help. The California Department of Insurance maintains a current list of insurance companies that are still offering new homeowners insurance policies in California. The trick is navigating their extensive website to locate their Home Insurance Finder. Here’s a direct link:

Answer a few questions to narrow your search. You’ll instantly see a listing of all companies that are writing policies in your area. For example, there are currently 27 insurance companies that are still writing homeowners’ policies in the 95465 postal area. I suggest entering 50 miles for Distance. This only pertains to the carrier’s closest office. You should be able to conduct business from your home.

Whenever carriers delete a coverage area, they must inform the state about the change. The Department of Insurance then updates the Home Insurance Finder to reflect this.

Questions or problems? Call the Department of Insurance directly at (800) 927-4357. A Department officer will speak with you directly.

Also: If you suffered a wildfire loss in an area where the governor has declared a state of emergency or in an area adjacent to such an area, you have additional help.

In such cases, a mandatory one-year moratorium exists on insurance companies canceling or non-renewing residential insurance policies. If you still receive a cancellation notice or non-renewal for wildfire risk, contact your insurance company and seek a policy reinstatement. If your insurance company refuses, contact the Department of Insurance and request assistance.

This one-year protection applies to all residential policyholders in the affected areas.

The loophole? Your insurance carrier may not cancel your policy. Instead, the renewal premium may be so high that you will cancel your policy. Hopefully, Commissioner Lara is working on a fix for this.