February 6, 2023


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Real Estate: Wildfire risks raising home insurance costs in Ramona

2020 will be most remembered for COVID-19, but for many Californians 2020 will also bring memories of catastrophic fires.

In just the past 10 years California has had the most ruinous wildfires in its history. It is estimated that close to half a million California homes are considered high risk from wildfires.

Ramona is no stranger to these wildfires and homeowners are feeling the effects when it comes to getting homeowners insurance. I receive calls regularly from people who have not even been touched by wildfire telling me, “my insurance is not renewing me, do you have recommendations?”

Ramona is in a heightened fire risk area and companies are deciding to move out of the area altogether or charging much larger premiums for insurance.

Insurance companies utilize many different algorithms to determine a property’s rate. Each insurer decides where their limits will be for accepting or declining a property and the rate they will charge if they accept. Many of the criteria used are not things a homeowner can change or improve.

The California FAIR Plan (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) was created as a last resort for basic insurance coverage for homeowners unable to obtain insurance anywhere else. The FAIR plan coverage is much less than a standard policy, typically at a higher cost.

Selling or purchasing a home is greatly affected by the ability for a buyer to obtain and afford home insurance. Many Realtors now write that in as a buyer contingency. Sellers should also be aware of how insurability affects the sale of their property. Sharing their current insurer with hopes the carrier will continue insuring the property with the buyer once sold can make the property more attractive.

Ramona Realtors understand the home insurance issues in Ramona, as they differ from one area to another in and around Ramona. Preparing buyers in advance of an offer and helping them with connections to insurance brokers can help manage the heightened stress now caused by the uncertainty and costs of getting home insurance coverage.

Consult your Realtor for additional information about what you can do as a property owner to help mitigate your wildfire risk.

Karen Domnitz is a Realtor with Century 21 Award and a director of Ramona Real Estate Association