California: Wildfire insurance losses from November 2018 blazes top $12 billion
Sacramento, Calif. — Insured losses from the most destructive wildfire month in California’s history climbed $614 million in the first three months of the year, pushing total claims over $12 billion as of April. The increase in claims came as homeowners and businesses continue to assess damages from the Camp Fire in Paradise and Butte County and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
The Department of Insurance is releasing this data during Wildfire Preparedness Week (May 6-12) and urges homeowners and businesses to take a fresh look at their insurance coverage.
“While last year’s tragic wildfires turned thousands of people’s lives upside down, insurance is helping to rebuild and recover,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “With these record-breaking fires still fresh in our memory, having the right insurance coverage for your home or business should be part of your preparation plan too.”
Steps to take to be prepared before a wildfire:
- Get your homeowners insurance coverage up-to-date if you have made any additions to your home. The department has tips and guides to assist you.
- Check out the department’s homeowners insurance policy comparison tool.
- Take and occasionally update an inventory of your possessions using the department’s Home Inventory Guideand a digital camera or phone to catalogue possessions.
- Identify different emergency routes out of the home and 2 exit routes from your neighborhood. Have your Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Kits ready.
Last week Commissioner Lara invited Insurance Commissioners from Oregon, Utah and Washington to meet with Town of Paradise officials on the challenges of rebuilding and the disruption to city services and tax revenue. The California Department of Insurance is working to address wildfire insurance issues as part of the strike team created by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The Department of Insurance releases quarterly reports of insured losses and number of claims following major fire events. The latest data shows a slight increase in losses from January, when losses jumped 26 percent over the Department’s initial report after the November 2018 fires. The number of claims filed increased by 4 percent from January, when claims jumped 16 percent over the Department’s initial report after the November 2018 fires.
Together with the July 2018 fires in Northern California last year’s overall insured losses topped $13 billion.