Safer West County hosted insurance meetings over the past few months (one in Occidental and then one in Monte Rio) to help residents understand the current insurance landscape and give homeowners practical information to help keep or secure insurance. 

Key takeaways from both meetings:

  • If you have insurance today, don’t start shopping for a better plan and switch carriers. This is not the time to try and find cheaper insurance. Keep what you have and fly under the radar.

  • If you are on the California Fair Plan, shop around every 3-6 months as you never know when an insurance company may have room in your area to write a new policy. Carriers with many policies in one region often reduce the risk in that area by decreasing policies; however, another carrier with fewer policies in your area might pick you up.

Do you know your insurance risk score?

Each home has an insurance risk score. To find your score, go to the website, type in your address and you should see your flood and fire score for that property. If your insurance company uses a risk model to determine eligibility or rates, they must share it with you before each renewal, after an initial application, and before non-renewal. Feel free to ask your agent for yours.

Defensible Space Rebates

 If you have completed mitigation work (for example, defensible space work) on your property since your last application or renewal, your insurer is required to provide you with an updated wildfire risk score or classification no later than 30 days.

Insurance carriers will likely soon be required to give discounts or at least keep you renewed based on work you do to make your home more fire-resilient. 

Visit to learn about what and how to do this. If you live in Monte Rio, Forestville, Camp Meeker, or Occidental, you are eligible for a $1000 rebate on defensible space work to help you get started. 

And remember, any debris created by this or other defensible space work is eligible for free chipping from your local fire department. Apply for chipping from the same website grant page.

Go to to learn more.

Firewise Communities

While the CA Insurance Commission helps regulate the industry, our government cannot force companies to write policies. They are working with the industry to make sure the insurance carriers are financially sustainable in the light of climate change while making sure homeowners can both be insured and afford insurance. It is a delicate balance.

 CA FAIR Plan policyholders can get up 4.0% off the wildfire portion of their premium simply for living in Sonoma County, which is a Board of Forestry designated Fire Risk Reduction Community. Additional premium discounts up to a maximum 16% are available for mitigation actions like defensible space, home hardening, and being part of a Firewise USA Community. Contact your insurance agent/broker to request the latest Attestation Form to get your discount.

California is pushing for all insurance carriers to recognize Firewise USA Communities when writing policies as being more fire resilient, and homeowners in those communities being more active at improving their home’s space. Safer West County is promoting neighborhoods to become Firewise USA Communities and Fire Safe Sonoma is helping each group with the steps.

For more information on how to become a Firewise neighborhood go to